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Minister Albares reaffirms humanitarian and political commitment to NGDOs in Palestine

​The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) hosted a new meeting with Spanish NGDOs to review the situation in Palestine

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation reaffirmed Spain's commitment to humanitarian aid and the search for a political solution to the Middle East conflict, in a context marked by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and the recent recognition of the State of Palestine by Spain, Ireland and Norway
May 29, 2024
This Wednesday a working meeting took place at the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) between the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, with around twenty Spanish non-governmental development organisations (NGDOs) active in Palestine and with the NGDOs coordinator herself. This meeting is a follow-up to the one convened by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation on 11 October 2023, a few days after the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel. 
In the months since that attack, the Israeli offensive has pushed Gaza's population to the brink, with more than 35,000 dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. The situation is also extremely serious in the West Bank, with a significant increase in settler attacks and restrictions of movement imposed by the Israeli authorities, which also affect the activities of Spanish NGDOs.

The safety of aid workers and humanitarian workers in Palestine has been a priority since the beginning of the current crisis. According to the Spanish Cooperation Office in Jerusalem, as of 24 May 2024 there were 22 Spanish aid workers in Palestine, distributed between Jerusalem, Ramallah, Hebron and Gaza. A total of 23 Spanish NGDOs operate in the region.

Support for Palestine

This meeting comes a day after Spain, together with Ireland and Norway, officially recognised the State of Palestine. The meeting has two main purposes: on the one hand, to maintain a space for dialogue with the actors of the Spanish Cooperation in Palestine and, on the other hand, to reaffirm the commitment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and the AECID with the humanitarian action and cooperation work with Palestine, in which the NGDOs play a fundamental role, as well as the establishment of a political solution to the conflict.

Spain's commitment to humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees is strong and continuous. In 2023, Spain tripled its support to Palestine over the previous year, increasing its humanitarian and cooperation funds to more than 50 million euros. Of this total, 19.5 million were used to fund the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Minister Albares, who was accompanied by the Secretary of State for International Cooperation, Eva Granados, and the Director of AECID, Antón Leis, acknowledged the indispensable work of Spanish NGDOs in supporting the Palestinian people and in the humanitarian response of Spanish Cooperation. Part of this response is channelled through AECID's call for humanitarian actions for NGDOs, with two actions approved for Gaza worth 1.5 million euros last year. 

This year, it has been decided to reserve 15% of the amount of the call for humanitarian actions for Palestine. This could mean doubling the 2023 allocation since, in a context of increasing humanitarian needs worldwide, the call for proposals has been increased by more than 30%, from 15 million euros in 2023 to 20 million euros in 2024.

The Minister thanked the humanitarian workers and aid workers for their efforts in extremely difficult conditions and stressed the importance of the parties ensuring the protection of these people, the access of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in need and the respect of International Humanitarian Law. 



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Photos: María Lucía Rodríguez (Nolsom)