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Following the announcement in Washington, U.S. Consul General Jake Walles, in Jerusalem, said that the contribution for UNRWA's emergency program in Gaza and the West Bank would also address the immediate humanitarian needs, especially food and medical assistance for 1 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza. Consul General Walles commented that “the United States is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza. We call on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza, including by avoiding civilian causalities."
Walles thanked Commissioner-General Karen Abu Zayd and her staff “for their dedication and hard work--often at great personal risk--on behalf of Palestinian refugees and expressed condolences for the death of two UNRWA staff members as a result of the current conflict in Gaza.”
Abu Zayd, from Gaza, thanked the U.S. government for its $85 million contribution, saying "We are immensely grateful to the United States government for its generous and early 2009 contribution. It is a fine example of the American commitment to supporting UNRWA and improving the daily lives of Palestine refugees throughout the region.”
The United States is UNRWA’s largest bilateral donor. In 2008, the United States provided $184.68 million to UNRWA, including $99.87 million to its General Fund, $57 million to its West Bank/Gaza Emergency Appeal, and $27.8 million to its Lebanon Emergency Appeals.
Regional Refugee Coordinator
U.S. Consulate Jerusalem
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