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The Government has Decided To Fund Palestinian Refugees

When Hamas attacked Israel and the world was flooded with images of its atrocities, representatives of the Slovenian authorities responded in different ways. Predictably, the Left party (Levica) tried to justify the war crimes of the terrorist group Hamas, Prime Minister Golob condemned the same group, and Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon of the Social Democrats (Socialni demokrati – SD) expressed support for Israel. But their actions say otherwise. The Slovenian government decided at its last correspondence meeting not to help Israel, but only to help Palestinian refugees.

“The Government of the Republic of Slovenia has adopted a decision to make a humanitarian contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA) in the amount of 150,000 euros in 2023,” the government’s website read.

Slovenia’s European Commissioner for Crisis Management wrote on social media that while he condemned the attacks by Hamas, humanitarian aid must continue. His comment was condemned by the spokesperson of the European People’s Party (EPP), who also drew attention to the statements made by MP Tašner Vatovec of the Left party, who, like his party, has been spreading justifications online, trying to make the Palestinian violence seem less serious than it is. These statements were, however, at odds with other voices in the European Commission. Olivér Várhelyi, the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, wrote that the European Union would freeze the disbursement of development aid to the Palestinians. Namely, there were 691 million euros on the table. Later, a third version emerged, claiming that the payments would not be frozen because they were not foreseen at all.

Following the attack, Israel announced a complete blockade of Gaza, including a ban on food, fuel and electricity.

But then, on the Slovenian government’s website, a statement appeared saying that within the European Union, “the prevailing view is that humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population in Gaza and the West Bank must continue as long as necessary. The European Commission is also continuing to provide humanitarian aid. The humanitarian situation is alarming and is expected to escalate further.”

In the press release, they also added that the government “condemns terrorism and attacks by Hamas and expresses solidarity with Israel. It regrets the innocent civilian casualties between Israelis and Palestinians and joins the calls for a cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law.” They failed to mention that Hamas is not an obscure terrorist organisation, but the largest parliamentary party in Palestine.

Even before the most recent announcement about donations, Slovenia has contributed regularly to UNRWA’s operations, with contributions ranging from 50,000 euros to 150,000 euros per year.

S. K.

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