"Your solidarity is needed now more than ever before," Esther Kuish Laroche, the chief of UNRWA`s Donor Relations Division, said.
Jakarta (Antara News) - The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has called on Indonesia to increase its contribution as the agency is facing a funding shortfall of US$37 million until the end of the year, an UNRWA spokesperson has said.

"If funds are not forthcoming, we will not be able to pay the salaries of teachers, medical personnel, social workers and other staff in December, which will bring our operations to a standstill," Esther Kuish Laroche, the chief of UNRWAs Donor Relations Division, said in her keynote speech at the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, here on Thursday.

She noted that the Indonesian government had, in 2012, increased its contribution to UNRWA from US$20 thousand to US$100 thousand.

"We are grateful for that. On this day of solidarity, I would like to call upon your generosity to further increase Indonesias support. I look forward to seeing our relationship deepen and grow further," Esther Kuish, who is based in Jerusalem, added, while praising Indonesia for its solidarity with the Palestinians for several decades.

She said the Palestinian refugee population has grown from 750,000 to more than five million people living across Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank.

"Your solidarity is needed now more than ever before," she added.

Chairman of the Indonesia-Palestine Friendship Initiative Din Syamsuddin presented a symbolic contribution of Rp400 million to Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi at the event.

"Previously, Muhammadiyah provided donations of Rp2 billion, or US$200 thousand. This time, the amount is Rp400 million," Din Syamsuddin, who is also the chairman of Muhammadiyah, Indonesias second-largest Muslim organization, said.

The financial assistance was initially meant for construction of a Muhammadiyah school in Palestine, but now it will be handed to UNRWA for Palestinian refugees, Syamsuddin added.

Ambassador Mehdawi thanked Muhammadiyah, the Indonesian people and the government for their continued support to Palestine.

He said the plight of refugees is about human dignity, not about food or shelter. The ambassador also urged Indonesian organizations and people to donate generously for Palestinian refugees through UNRWA.

On the peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel, he remarked: "We can negotiate for another 100 years, and there will be no solution. What we need is international will to implement the resolutions on Palestine."

The commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was organized at the Muhammadiyah headquarters in Menteng by the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Jakarta.

The event was held in cooperation with the Indonesian foreign affairs ministry, the Indonesia-Palestine Friendship Initiative and the Palestinian embassy.

Also present at the event were the Indonesian foreign affairs ministrys Director General of Information and Public Diplomacy, AM Fachir, the ministrys Director of Socio-Cultural and International Organization of Developing Countries, Arko Hananto Budiadi, Director of UNIC Jakarta Michele Zaccheo, and several foreign ambassadors. (*) (T. F001/INE/H-YH)
28-11-2013 22:00:38

Reporter: Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2013