WASHINGTON - May 20 - MAHER NASSER, email@example.com, www.unrwa.org
Nasser, a representative of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, is based in New York. He said today: "The bombings are only the most visible sign of distress in Gaza. There is a humanitarian catastrophe occurring in the Israeli-occupied territories, largely because of Israeli blockades. Now, in Gaza, about 75 percent of the people are below the poverty line. Over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been made homeless this month; hardest hit has been the Rafah area where 1,000 people, within the last three days, have lost their homes. In the last four years 18,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been made homeless by Israeli home demolitions."
DONATELLA ROVERA, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.amnesty.org
A spokesperson for Amnesty International, Rovera has been in Gaza three times during the last week. She wrote the recently released report "Under the Rubble: House Demolition and Destruction of Land and Property."
HANI ABU NAHLA, email@example.com, www.pchrgaza.org
Hani Abu Nahla works with the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza. He lives in Rafah.
CINDY and CRAIG CORRIE, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.rachelcorrie.org
Parents of Rachel Corrie, who on March 16, 2003, was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer while trying to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah, they spent six days in Rafah in September 2003.
JOSH RUEBNER, email@example.com, www.jppi.org
Ruebner is co-founder of Jews for Peace in Palestine and Israel, which has scheduled a protest in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington at 6 p.m. on Thursday. He plans to burn his Israeli passport.
SVETLANA TSALIK, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.iraqrevenuewatch.org
Tsalik is director of the Revenue Watch program at the Open Society Institute, which includes Iraq Revenue Watch. She said today: "Under the Coalition Provisional Authority, $9.3 billion in crude oil export revenues, $8.1 billion in leftover UN Oil-for-Food Program funds and other funds have been transferred into the Development Fund for Iraq, the main repository for Iraq's oil revenues. To date, the CPA has spent over $8 billion in DFI funds on infrastructure, administration, security and other projects, without any independent monitoring or supervision
. Since the IAMB (International Advisory and Monitoring Board), created by a UN Security Council Resolution in May 2003, began work in December, it has expressed concern over the use of DFI funds to pay for a contract awarded to Halliburton with no competitive bidding.... The CPA had been reluctant to hand over broad auditing authority to the IAMB -- whose members consist of the UN, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Arab Development Fund -- but finally agreed to such a provision in October. [Currently] it has less than two months to account for billions of Iraqi funds spent by the Coalition Provisional Authority.... An examination of the minutes of IAMB meetings reveals gaps in the CPA's management of Iraq's oil and the continuing exclusion of Iraqis in the oversight of their oil revenues...."