UAE move for beleaguered Gaza commendable - GulfToday

UAE move for beleaguered Gaza commendable

Bodour Al Qasimi

Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi

The move by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, President of the International Publishers Association (IPA) and Founder and CEO of the UAE-based Kalimat Group (KG), to donate proceeds from the sales of her new book, “World Book Capital,” is truly praiseworthy. The aid will help libraries and cultural and educational institutions in Gaza, Palestine.

The announcement was made by Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi via a post on her Twitter account @bodour, and is a new milestone in her inspiring efforts to enable children and youth unrestricted access to books and knowledge despite their socioeconomic circumstances.

Sheikha Bodour wrote, “I’m happy to announce that all proceeds from my book ‘World Book Capital’ will be donated to the Palestinian bookshops and libraries damaged in the conflict in Gaza. I hope we can help rebuild these cultural centres.”

This is the latest step the IPA President has taken to advance her global march to boost support for libraries and educational institutions worldwide. The support is vital to the Gaza Strip where several libraries and cultural entities have suffered severe damage following recent events.

But this is not the first time the UAE has rendered aid so badly needed in the Gaza Strip. In December last year, the United Arab Emirates sent a third aid plane carrying 14.4 metric tonnes of medical supplies and testing kits to the Gaza Strip in coordination with the Commission for Solidarity in Gaza, benefiting more than 14,000 healthcare professionals as they work to combat COVID-19.

Earlier, the UAE sent the first shipment of medical aid and supplies in May, which was followed by additional shipments totalling 22 metric tonnes of aid to the health sector.

In 2019, The Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation donated Dhs5.5 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA, to implement its project to provide school supplies to Palestinian refugee students of the UNRWA Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elementary Boys and Elementary Co-Educational Schools in northern Gaza.

School supplies were distributed among the entire student population at the schools, some 3,400 Palestine refugee youth.

In 2017, the UAE has donated Dhs55 million to support education in Gaza in cooperation with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNRWA.

The country has signed an agreement with the UNRWA worth Dhs40.4 million, or US$11 million, and a tripartite cooperation agreement between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, MoFAIC, the UNRWA and the Dubai Cares Foundation worth Dhs14.6 million, or $4 million, to support the UN agency’s education programmes in Gaza, with the aim of guaranteeing continued access to education for local students in appropriate UNRWA schools.

Both agreements aim to support the strategic goal of ensuring that the requirements of various educational programmes for Palestinian refugee children in Gaza for the 2017-2018 school year are covered, which the UAE considers part of the pledge it made during the “Cairo International Conference on Palestine - Reconstructing Gaza” in October 2014.

Israel’s air campaign has ravaged Gaza’s infrastructure and left at least 6,000 people homeless, the UN’s humanitarian agency says. Up to 800,000 are without access to clean water in the coastal enclave.

Friday’s ceasefire ended the fourth major Israel-Gaza military clash since 2008.

It claimed 248 lives in Gaza, including 66 children, the local health ministry says.

The death toll in Israel reached 12, including one child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, an Israeli soldier, one Indian and two Thai nationals, medics say.

On the Gaza side, the conflict did major economic damage, bringing down entire office blocks, cratering roads and flattening factories.

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