During the meeting, the latest developments of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza were discussed, as well as how to enhance Qatari cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
The Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah bint Rashid Al Khater, met UNRWA, the UN refugee agency for Palestinians, spokesperson, Tamara Alrifai, according to a Qatar News Agency (QNA) report.
During yesterday’s meeting, QNA said that the emphasis was “the importance of ensuring the smooth flow of aid to the people of Gaza without obstacles.”
QNA also reported that the two parties sought to enhance cooperation to ensure the dire needs of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip are urgently met.
Since October 7, the United Nations said the international body has suffered its “deadliest conflict ever in such a short period of time,” according to a Reuters report.
In a post on X from November 10, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, said: “Devastated. Over 100 @UNRWA colleagues confirmed killed in 1 month.”
During yesterday’s meeting, Al Khater expressed condolences to UNRWA for the immense loss of employees during the Israeli aggression.
Qatar’s continued support for UNRWA
Established in 1949, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, UNRWA is mandated “ to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees,” according to its website.
This is a cause Qatar has historically championed. Since 2018, Qatar has been a member of the agency’s Advisory Committee.
In 2016, the Qatar-based Al Fakhoora Education Above All initiative donated $4.6 million to UNRWA, which enabled the agency to carry out maintenance and repair of 43 UNRWA schools in Gaza.
Following Qatar’s donation, the former Deputy Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza, Melinda Young said, “UNRWA thanks the Qatar Development Fund and Al Fakhoora for their support for this important project that allows UNRWA students to return to a safe environment to receive quality education,” during a visit to the school in Gaza.
After Israel began its military campaign in Gaza following October 7, Qatar reiterated its continued support for UNRWA in a statement before the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on November 7.
The Third Secretary of the Permanent Delegation of the State of Qatar to the United Nations, Sheikh Jassim Al Thani, thanked UNRWA’s New York office head on November 7 for “their comprehensive briefing that reflected the catastrophic humanitarian conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially in the Gaza Strip.”
In tandem with UNRWA, as well as the Arab-Islamic delegation, Qatar has called for Israel to de-escalate its aggression on Palestine and has spearheaded mediation efforts between the two factions, leading to a “humanitarian pause” deal reached on Wednesday and that consists of a four-day truce, the release of 50 Israeli hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners (a number reported by Hamas).