A very necessary reminder of the plight of the Palestinian refugees came this week with a sizeable donation of $50,000 to UNWRA. Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani education activist who survived a Taliban attempt on her life, donated the money to help with the reconstruction of U.N. schools, which were badly damaged during the recent fighting in Gaza. The 17-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner opted to channel the money through UNWRA, the U.N. agency in charge for 65 years for the wellbeing of the Palestinian refugees in the region. This gesture of goodwill highlighted for a brief moment both the desperate and pressing need of the millions of Palestinian refugees for international aid and the extraordinary role of UNWRA in relieving some of their suffering in almost impossible circumstances. The last few years since the beginning of the Arab Spring, especially the civil war in Syria, and the cycle of violence with Israel in Gaza, exacerbated an already wretched situation. Despite this, the voice of the Palestinian refugees is hardly heard on the international stage. Other developments in the region and elsewhere seem to attract more attention, while the refugees themselves are bogged down with their daily predicament of survival.
The plight of the Palestinian refugees is not only humanitarian; it is first and foremost a political one, not to mention a moral oneYossi Mekelberg