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Snippet Contents:

I welcome the news from the Tánaiste today that the Government has given extra funding to the UNRWA for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. I understand Ireland will give €250,000. I am raising the issue because UNRWA has stated that it is experiencing its worst funding crisis of the past 70 years. The agency was set up because of Israel's expulsion of Palestinian people from Palestine. Many Palestinian refugees are in the occupied West Bank, Gaza, Syria and Jordan. It is welcome that the Government has tried to address some of the shortfall. There is a shortfall because Donald Trump's Administration has withdrawn 80% of the funding. It is small beer compared to the funding the US gives Israel, but it will have profound effects on the many Palestinians in refugee camps. These people rely on the funding for schools and so on. The head of the agency says that if the funding is not met by other donors, people will suffer. It is probably in the interests of the Israeli Government that Palestinians suffer even more. This is about collective punishment by another means on the part of the American Administration, including Mr. Trump. He is probably the greatest Zionist of them all.
I am unsure if the Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach will attend the European Council but I hope he will raise the issue. One startling aspect of the crisis in Palestine is the UN reckons that in 2020, one and a half years from now, the Gaza Strip, where 1.2 million people live, will become unliveable. That will have profound effects for those people.
As Deputies and citizens of this country, we have always had a pro-Palestinian view. We saw Palestinian people being driven out of their homes and discriminated against on a daily basis. The general tone of this State and of the people who live here is pro-Palestinian.
It is welcome that the Government has granted a further €250,000. That brings our contribution up to €6 million to the fund. However, the crisis will continue. We have run out of adjectives to describe what Donald Trump is about. He is a maniac who will destroy many of the people who he believes are against his policy. Our solidarity is always with the Palestinian people. I welcome the new funding. I call on the Minister of State to raise the matter at the European Council during the week.