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Deputy humanitarian chief concludes visit to Israel and oPt

20 Jan 2020


Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller visits Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, January 2020. Credit: OCHA

Following a six-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, the UN Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, called on the international community to ensure continued commitment and consistent and sustained funding to help alleviate the challenges faced by Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

“My visit leaves me concerned,” the ASG said. “The challenges here are immense, but recent positive steps, along with the extraordinary people I met, give me hope that there are opportunities for improvement. We must seize them.”

Ms. Mueller was a keynote speaker at the sixth international conference on preparedness and response to emergencies and disasters, held in Tel Aviv. During her visit, she met with Israeli authorities, and commended Israel on its contribution to global emergency relief efforts.

In the occupied Palestinian territory, the ASG met the Prime Minister of the State of Palestine and the Director General of Palestinian Civil Defense, to identify areas for strengthened cooperation. She visited the central West Bank, including East Jerusalem, where she met with vulnerable communities that are exposed to a coercive environment that reduces their access to shelter, basic services and natural resources, placing them at risk of forcible transfer. 

In Gaza, she visited Al-Shifa hospital, as well as vulnerable women and men benefiting from the support of a women’s centre and youth leaders, learning more about the deprivations of life under blockade and the negative impact of the Palestinian political divide.

“Member States must continue to support humanitarian assistance in Gaza and the West Bank. At the same time, they must work to rekindle a robust political dialogue and promote long-term solutions, to address the root causes of this crisis,” she said.