Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-09-16-Speech-4-051"

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"Mr President, UNRWA ought really to celebrate its fifty-year anniversary by disbanding itself. For five long decades the way back for the Palestinians was closed off and the way forward was blocked too. All that time UNRWA was doing extremely useful work under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. All the endeavours to bring education and health care up to standard, no matter how valuable in themselves, were still unable to solve the political problem of the refugees. UNWRA has suffered a great deal on account of financial problems in recent years. Increased costs were not covered by additional revenue. Consequently, it had no alternative but to develop illegal secondary economies, much to the discomfiture of the Palestinians. Unfortunately there is nothing about the refugees in the Wye agreement. The Palestinians now feel desperate, forgotten about and left to their fate. Uncertainty about the future, high unemployment and restricted mobility cause tension and fear, which creates a breeding ground for fundamentalism. Therefore, giving support to UNWRA as proposed does not just serve humanitarian ends but is also of political importance, i.e. by bringing stability to the region. Israel must demonstrate more flexibility in the peace process. The Arab host countries, in turn, must take responsibility and stop misusing the Palestinian problem for political ends. They must assist in integrating the Palestinians into their country. The European Union, in its turn, should provide financial assistance here. Up until now, Europe has not known how to convert its financial assistance into political influence. It has given the refugees financial assistance for 25 years. It is high time for Europe to at last bring its political influence to bear in order to make UNRWA redundant once and for all."@en1

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