Funding suspension forces UNRWA to halt all Gaza activities in weeks: Official
Read below: Suspension of funding to UNRWA deplorable: Palestine Authority
GAZA — Funding suspension would force UNRWA to halt all its activities in the conflict-ridden Gaza Strip in a few weeks, the UN relief agency’s Commissioner-General said.
Philippe Lazzarini said on his social media X account on Sunday that the suspension decision is “regrettable,” stressing that the agency “relies on the support of our partners to maintain our humanitarian response to two million people in Gaza and Palestinian refugees in the region”.
The US, Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, Finland and the Netherlands decided to pause funding to UNRWA after Israel accused several UNRWA employees of suspected involvement in the October 7 attack on Israel last year, Xinhua news agency reported.
Lazzarini said he was “shocked” upon knowing the accusations against its employees, adding that the agency has decided to “dismiss the employees concerned and to commence an investigation without delay”.
“UNRWA is also implementing structural reforms to enhance the commitment of its staff to humanitarian principles, including the principle of neutrality, with independent experts responsible for assessing and deepening our efforts in this direction,” he noted.
UNRWA, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949, is tasked to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees registered in the agency’s operational areas until a just and lasting solution to their plight is found.
L’@UNRWA est choqué par les allégations envers 12 de ses employés à #Gaza.— Philippe Lazzarini (@UNLazzarini) January 28, 2024
Conformément à notre politique de tolérance zéro envers toute incitation à la haine et à la violence, et au vu de la gravité des allégations formulées à leur encontre, j’ai pris la décision de congédier…
On Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani condemned Israel’s accusations against UNRWA employees.
“The accusations hurled by Israel against some of the UNRWA staff members are another malicious act in completion of Israel’s inhumane actions against Palestinians,” he was quoted in a statement published on the Ministry’s website as saying.
Suspension of funding to UNRWA deplorable: Palestine Authority
TEL AVIV — The foreign ministry of Palestine Authority (PA) has said that suspension of funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in Near East (UNRWA) was deplorable.
In a statement on Sunday night, the PA said that the suspension of funds to the UNRWA by the US, the UK and other countries was highly deplorable and of double standards.
The PA also said that the UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarani has already announced that the UN agency was willing for an independent investigation on the Israeli claims regarding UNRWA staff.
Israel has complained to the United Nations and other funding countries that several UNRWA staff members were directly involved in the October 7 massacre in southern Israel when Hamas men swarmed into the Israeli communities and slaughtered 1,200 people — a majority being civilians.
Israel has in its complaint stated that the details of UNRWA staff members’ participation in the October 7 attack was obtained while interrogating arrested Hamas militants. Israel intelligence agencies and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have also provided information to the Israeli side regarding the participation and involvement of UNRWA staffers.
The foreign ministry of the Palestinian Authority defined the decision to suspend funding to the UNRWA as “highly politicized, disproportionate and unjustified”.
The Ministry, according to its statement, said that the decision to suspend funding to UNRWA was a form of “collective punishment”.
It also added that the UNRWA was about to run out of money and would not be able to provide assistance to Palestinian refugees throughout the region.
Israel has in its complaint stated that the details of UNRWA staff members participation in the October 7 attack was garnered while interrogating arrested Hamas militants. Israel intelligence agencies and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have also provided information to the Israeli side regarding the participation and involvement of UNRWA staffers.
Israel has all along been maintaining that the UNRWA was acting as a cover for Hamas in Gaza and that it should be replaced with some other agency.