The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) warned that European Union is putting Palestinian lives at risk by delaying aid for vital sectors in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), including patients needing treatment in occupied East Jerusalem hospitals.
After claiming since last year that textbooks in Palestinian schools have anti-Semitic content, the EU has been withholding millions of euros in aid to the Palestinians, insisting that the books must be revised.
The suspension of aid is paralyzing critical sectors and impeding vital services, including healthcare in East Jerusalem, where hospitals provide life-saving care for Palestinians from across the occupied territories, according to the NRC.
“These restrictions punish terminally ill patients who cannot get life-saving medicine and force children to go hungry when parents cannot afford to buy food,” said Jan Egeland, the NRC’s secretary-general.
“Palestinians are paying the cruellest price for political decisions made in Brussels,” Egeland added.
According to the NRC, at least 500 cancer patients diagnosed since September 2021 have failed to have access to adequate, potentially life-saving treatment at Augusta Victoria Hospital in occupied East Jerusalem.
Moreover, up to 120,000 Palestinians, the majority based in Gaza, have not received financial payments since 2021 that are critical for their survival. The salaries of PA employees, including teachers and healthcare workers, have been cut by 20 percent.
The EU is the PA’s largest single donor. Its aid helps to pay the salaries of civil servants and funds numerous development projects and programs.
“The delay because of a political position is putting lives at risk every day,” added Egeland. “We appeal to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to release the funds immediately so that critical assistance for vulnerable Palestinians and support for basic services can continue.”