The Middle East Institute
Refugees in Lebanon: Perspectives from on the Ground
In recent months, refugees in Lebanon are facing a dismal climate of social polarization, opportunistic political rhetoric, and increasing hostility, with the demolition of some informal camp settlements, enhanced labor law restrictions, and widespread protests. Humanitarian programs must navigate tensions between host, Palestinian and Syrian refugee communities against the backdrop of Lebanon’s serious economic and environmental difficulties. The Middle East Institute and Anera hosted a panel discussion, featuring Anera's Dima Zayat and Serene Dardari, two experts with years of experience in the humanitarian sector in Lebanon, and Mona Yacoubian. Randa Slim (MEI) moderated. Watch the archived live streaming video.
THE NATIONAL (UAE)
Palestinian refugee protests over labour conditions move into Lebanon’s streets
“'The environmental conditions in all the camps are horrible,' said Dima Zayat, deputy country director at Anera, an international non-profit organization working with Palestinian and Syrian refugees, and Lebanese host communities. 'You cannot provide a decent life for your family in any of them, unfortunately. These living conditions affect Palestinians’ mental and physical health.' Anera partners with grassroots associations to provide training for around 1,500 Palestinians a year in Lebanon. In a Burj Al Barajneh classroom this week, a group of 14-26 year old boys and young men took part in a six-month-long course on electricity repairs and installations." Read more at The National (UAE).
US pushes 'economic prosperity' for Palestinians — without Palestinians
"It has severely affected our ability to deliver services to the most needy in the West Bank and Gaza. These services included fresh water projects, education, health, agriculture, and were all funded by USAID," said Jack Byrne, country director for American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera), which has been working in the Middle East for decades. ... "There is severe donor fatigue, and this is a very sensitive and politicized part of the world," said Byrne. "We don't see [other] donors stepping up in a way that we used to." Read more at Deutsche Welle.
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
Decades of People-to-People Diplomacy in Jeopardy in Palestine
"Since 1975, USAID has supported many of American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA)’s essential and sustainable long-term health, economic development and education projects for Palestinians throughout the region. This administration’s funding cuts to USAID meant ANERA was forced to end work on two water projects in Gaza, as well as renovations for schools and other projects that affected 87,000 people. They had to lay off two-thirds of ANERA’s staff in the West Bank and Gaza and halt the work of hundreds of Palestinian contractors who supported large extended families throughout the region." Read more at Washington Report.
The Arab Weekly
Anera includes Jordan in its MENA area of operations
“Anera worked in Jordan in the past, in response to the Iraqi crisis,” said Anera President Sean Carroll. “As challenges continue and have grown since the start of the Syrian crisis (in 2011), we should be working in Jordan again. The Jordanian government as well as donors are encouraging us to come back.” Read more at The Arab Weekly.
Can Recycling Save Lebanon?
An article on Lebanon’s waste collection challenges quotes Anera's Lama Ghaddar. “Anera’s efforts—along with the work of other environmental organizations—won’t be enough if the government and the Environment Ministry in particular don’t support the municipalities that are not capable of carrying out all the stages of waste management on their own,” Ghaddar tells LobeLog. “Finding a sustainable solution for this crisis, which affects all residents of Lebanon, will represent a positive step toward decreasing the existing tensions in the country.” Read more at Lobe Log.
Why I Started a Sustainable Fashion Conference Series
Slow Factory founder Céline Semaan op-ed on sustainability, fashion and culture. Semaan discusses her collaboration with Anera on a skills training initiative with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Read more at Teen Vogue.
With U.S. aid cuts, Palestinian women pay biggest price
U.S. aid has helped improve education for over 200,000 female students in the West Bank and Gaza. Now the funds are ending. One impacted project "is a school in the Bethlehem area that only goes up to 10th grade, says Sean Carroll, the head of Anera, one of the largest non-governmental organizations providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinians. Anera had been working on rehabilitating and expanding the school to offer students a secondary education. 'If you wanted to continue your studies, you had to go miles away. A lot of the kids didn’t, particularly the girls, so effectively girls’ education in that town was stopping at 10th grade,' he explains. ... 'The biggest amount of our USAID project funding over the past 10 years has been in water and wash,' says Carroll, 'and with the cuts right now, we know 57,000 Palestinians will not get access to safe water [through a project] that was planned and would have been implemented by the end of the year.'" Read more at +972.
A U.S. law is about to end security aid to the Palestinians, and Israel is not happy
On the eve of the ATCA legislation taking effect, a review of the likely impact of the end of the law and efforts by some to find a workaround. "The act will also bring a swifter-than-planned end to some U.S. Agency for International Development projects in Gaza and the West Bank, which had already begun to wind down because of funding cuts. Sean Carroll, president of Anera, a subcontractor for USAID infrastructure projects, said a U.S.-funded school in the West Bank will now be left half-built, and two water projects also risk being left unfinished." Read more at Washington Post.
USAID, US NGOs leave Gaza, West Bank over terrorism law
The U.S. Agency for International Development office in the West Bank and Gaza is closing as NGOs must shut down operations in the Palestinian territories by Jan. 31 as a result of apparent unintended consequences of a U.S. terrorism law passed in 2018. “There seems to be a sort of a ‘whoops, how [did] this happen?,’” says Anera's Sean Carroll. Read more at DevEx.
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
End of U.S. aid dooms partly-built school, other projects in West Bank
Another report on the closure of projects funded by USAID in Palestine, including a school that Anera is renovating and expanding. "The $1.4 million school was supposed to educate Palestinian children. The cutting of U.S. aid puts its future in question." Anera President and CEO Sean Carroll is quoted. Read more at UPI.
Palestinians to refuse remaining US aid over terror lawsuit fears
The Palestinian Authority is rejecting all US government aid after January out of concern they would be exposed to costly lawsuits under the US Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) which comes into force on February 1.
Anera's construction work to renovate and expand a school near Bethlehem will halt this week, with only about a quarter of the work done and the entire school unusable. The expansion would have allowed girls in the village to continue their studies. Sean Carroll, President & CEO of Anera, told AFP, "This school has been caught in the middle. You would hope that reasonable minds would find a way to finish the school to allow the kids to learn." Read more at Agence France-Presse and watch the video.
US aid cuts hit Palestinians, further dimming hope for peace
Article on the ending of U.S. aid to Palestinians mentions Anera's USAID-funded infrastructure projects which must be halted before completion due to new legislation. Read more at Associated Press.
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
Palestinian School And Sewage Projects Unfinished As U.S. Cuts Final Bit Of Aid
U.S. aid to Palestinians is scheduled to end February 1. Remaining aid projects will be abruptly cut short by the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act, which was signed into law in October. Halted projects include a $1.4 million school facility being built by Anera in the Bethlehem area. Sean Carroll, the head of Anera, is quoted. Read more at NPR.