Palestinian official alarms about drugs in territories


Vienna : A senior Palestinian official sounded the alarm here Friday about the mounting phenomenon of illegal drugs in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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Fadwa al-Khawaja, a high-ranking official of the Palestinian Interior Ministry, made the warning in remarks to Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) on the sidelines of an international conference on the fight against illegal drugs, held here.

She based her remarks on a recent study worked out by a Palestinian team and backed by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Al-Khawaja, chief of the Palestinian delegation participating in the meeting, cited the study as uncovering that there were 35,000-42,000 drug-takers and addicts in the occupied Palestinian territories.

There are around 5,000-6,000 drug-takers in the Old City of Jerusalem, with their hotbeds sprouting out near Al-Aqsa Mosque, she said.

On challenges and difficulties facing the Palestinian team of experts while compiling the study, she said it was so uneasy for them to get access to the hotbeds of drug-takers as they lay in Israeli-controlled areas.

Most drug traffickers and addicts use Israeli areas as grounds for their suspicious activities, she said, blaming the Israeli occupying authorities for the spreading of illegal drugs in the Palestinian lands.

Such a serious phenomenon puts security, political and social stability, sustainable development, future of generations to come and individual and family health in jeopardy, she regretted.

Therefore, she urged everyone in Palestine to work together in order to eradicate the scourge of drugs.

Effective strategies and policies need to be put in place to put an end to the serious phenomenon, which could egregiously dent the entire society, al-Khawaja cautioned.
She also called on Israel to bear due responsibility by handing over suspicious drug traffickers to the Palestinian side, recalling to memory that such a scourge has no identities or frontiers, but poses a menace to the safety and security of everyone indiscriminately.
However, the Palestinian side is doing its best to put an end to such a phenomenon, adopting a draft law on the fight against illegal drugs in line with relevant UN resolutions.
Many Palestinian social and health workers have been carefully trained in Egypt in how to treat drug takers and addicts, the Palestinian official said.

In conclusion, she alarmed that as long as the Israeli occupation continued, crossings and checkpoints remained uncontrolled and the Israeli and Palestinian sides remained unable to work together, the scourge of illegal drugs would remain unstemmed.