The Government of Iceland has decided to double its financial contribution to the United Nations emergency appeal for Gaza. The decision was announced on 2 November during the 10th Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the situation in the Middle East, where Iceland also reiterated the call for an immediate humanitarian pause.
“A humanitarian pause is required so that humanitarian partners can get critical relief items into Gaza and provide life-saving assistance to those in need. Iceland will be channeling this additional contribution through UNRWA, an organization that plays an essential role in alleviating the suffering of the most vulnerable people in Gaza,” says Mr. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In his speech to the General Assembly, the Permanent Representative of Iceland expressed serious concerns about the unacceptable loss of civilian life and suffering since the start of the hostilities, and alarm over the impact of mass evacuations of civilians in Gaza. He furthermore stated that this grave situation warranted an immediate humanitarian pause and humanitarian corridors to facilitate the safe delivery of aid throughout Gaza.
The Permanent Representative of Iceland also conveyed Iceland’s grave concern over reports of possible violations of international humanitarian law that must be investigated. He also stressed the need to prevent further escalation of the conflict, and the crucial importance of creating conditions for a long-term political solution and peace based on a two-state solution.
Iceland’s additional contribution of 70 million ISK (approximately 500,000 USD) to the UN emergency response in Gaza will be channeled through UNRWA, one of Iceland’s longstanding humanitarian partners and the lead UN agency mandated with supporting Palestine Refugees in the Near and Middle East. Out of the 1,4 million people currently internally displaced in Gaza, UNRWA is sheltering over 690,000 people in 149 UNRWA installations.
Iceland’s contribution to humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza since the outbreak of hostilities to date is 140 million ISK (or just over 1 million USD).