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Funding Paused for UNRWA as Allegations Surface on Staff’s Role in Hamas Attacks

January 27, 2024

 

 

 

 

 

 

The United Kingdom, Australia, Italy, and Canada have decided to halt funding for the UN Agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, following the dismissal of several of its staff amid allegations of involvement in the October 7 Hamas attacks. The decision has sparked global concern, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressing horror over the news.

The UNRWA, in response to the allegations, has initiated an investigation based on information supplied by Israel. The UK Foreign Office, condemning the alleged involvement of UNRWA staff in the terrorist attack against Israel, announced a temporary pause in future funding while they review the concerning allegations.

The United States State Department also joined the action, suspending additional funding and expressing extreme concern over the allegations. The European Union has stated that it will assess further steps based on the results of a full and comprehensive investigation.

UNRWA’s head, Philippe Lazzarini, assured a thorough investigation into the allegations, emphasizing that any staff found involved in “acts of terror” would be held accountable. Meanwhile, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, pledged continued support for Gaza’s people and humanitarian assistance while closely engaging with UNRWA on investigations.

The move to halt funding comes amidst Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, aiming to cease UNRWA operations in Gaza post-war, seeking support from major donors. The Palestinian Authority expressed concerns over the decision, highlighting potential political and humanitarian risks.

Hamas, via its press office, urged the UN and international organizations not to yield to threats from Israel. The group denies the allegations and asserts that UNRWA should not succumb to blackmail.

The situation further intensified as details emerged from an adviser to the Israeli prime minister, Mark Regev, revealing alleged links between UNRWA and Hamas. He claimed that individuals receiving UNRWA salaries were involved in the October attacks, with some teachers in UNRWA schools allegedly celebrating the events.

As these developments unfold, the fate of UNRWA’s operations in the region hangs in the balance, impacting the vital services it provides to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The agency, already struggling to deliver humanitarian aid to those displaced by weeks of fighting, now faces a critical juncture with its major donors reconsidering their support.

 

 

 

Credit: BBC News

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