UNRWA’s deputy commissioner-general Margot Ellis writes on The Guardian’s Comment is Free how the greater media focus on Syria has impacted UNRWA’s fundraising ability for emergency projects for Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank:
Aid money follows the cameras. Cameras follow conflict. Syria is no exception. …
Gaza hit the headlines during the upsurge in fighting in the winter of 2008-2009 and then again in November 2012. For a brief few days the cameras were there to capture the Israeli attack and the rockets that flew towards Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The West Bank is even more severely “news fatigued”. The occupation, now more than 45 years old, is hardly a news story, some would say.
Ellis is effectively acknowledging the symbiotic relationship between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and aid agencies and the media. If UNRWA can only raise money on the back of media coverage of the conflict, is it any wonder that NGOs make so much effort to supply the media with one-sided reports bashing Israel?
And to prove the point, Ellis writes about the plight of Palestinians:
The only way of dealing with these man-made emergencies is to get rid of the underlying causes: the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and the closure of Gaza which is stifling the economy, increasing poverty and unemployment, and forcing even greater dependency on aid provided by the international community. The need for emergency interventions would diminish dramatically if Gaza was opened up for normal business and trade.
So only Israel is responsible for the situation of the Palestinians. No mention of Hamas’s control over Gaza or Egypt’s closure of the Rafah border crossing. No mention of Palestinian terrorism that has contributed to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian movement as a security necessity.
But just imagine if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were to be resolved. Where would UNRWA be then? Margot Ellis and NGO workers like her would be out of a job. And where would organizations such as UNRWA be then?