Palestinians slam suspension of UNRWA funding by some Western nations | News

Italy, Australia, US, UK halt assist after Israel accused UNRWA employees of involvement in Hamas’s October 7 assaults.

Top Palestinian officers and Hamas have criticised the choice by some Western international locations to droop funding to the United Nations aid company for Palestinians and known as for an instantaneous reversal of the transfer that entails “great” threat.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees within the Near East (UNRWA) earlier stated it had opened an investigation into some staff that Israel alleges have been concerned within the October 7 assaults that triggered the present battle.

On Saturday, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh stated the international locations’ determination “entails great political and humanitarian relief risks”.

“At this particular time and in light of the continuing aggression against the Palestinian people, we need the maximum support for this international organization and not stopping support and assistance to it,” he wrote on X, urging the international locations to “immediately reverse their decision”.

Italy, Australia, Canada and the United States stated they’d halt funding to the company, whereas European Union international coverage chief Josep Borrell stated the 27-member bloc would “assess further steps and draw lessons based on the result of the full and comprehensive investigation”.

The United Kingdom and Finland additionally joined the rising listing of international locations to pause monetary help to the UN company, whose services the place displaced Palestinians sought shelter have been repeatedly attacked in Israeli air raids.

Hamas on Saturday slammed Israeli “threats” in opposition to the company, after Israel accused a number of UNRWA employees of involvement in Hamas’s October 7 assaults in southern Israel that the authorities there have stated killed about 1,140 folks.

“We ask the UN and the international organisations to not cave in to the threats and blackmail” from Israel, Hamas’s press workplace stated in a publish on Telegram.

On Friday, UNRWA stated it had fired a number of staff and that it had opened an investigation into the allegations.

“The Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on October 7,” stated UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.

“To protect the agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay.”

UNRWA was based within the wake of the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 to offer tons of of hundreds of Palestinian refugees who have been forcibly displaced with training, healthcare, social companies and jobs. It began operations in 1950.

The cash-strapped company immediately helps almost six million Palestinians in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, in addition to in neighbouring Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

Aid freeze

The UK on Saturday stated it had joined the US in “temporarily pausing” future monetary help for UNRWA, which is funded virtually fully by voluntary contributions from UN member international locations.

“The UK is appalled by allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attack against Israel, a heinous act of terrorism that the UK Government has repeatedly condemned,” the Foreign and Commonwealth Office stated in an announcement.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani stated on Saturday that his nation was becoming a member of its allies and slicing its assist for the company.

“Allied countries have taken a similar decision. We are committed to providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population while protecting Israel’s security,” he posted on X.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong stated she was “deeply concerned” by the allegations in opposition to UNRWA.

“We are speaking with partners and will temporarily pause disbursement of recent funding,” she wrote on X.

“We welcome UNRWA’s immediate response, including terminating contracts and launching an investigation, as well as its recent announcement of a full investigation into allegations against the organization,” she added.

Israel praised the international locations for halting their assist to the UN company, saying it needs to utterly cease its operations after the conflict on Gaza has ended.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz stated Israel “aims to promoting a policy ensuring that UNRWA will not be a part of the day after, addressing other contributing factors”.

“We will work to garner bipartisan support in the US, the European Union, and other nations globally for this policy aimed at halting UNRWA’s activities in Gaza,” he stated.

Independent investigation

Canada’s International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen on Friday introduced that Ottawa had “temporarily paused any additional funding to UNRWA while it undertakes a thorough investigation into these allegations”.

“Canada is taking these reports extremely seriously and is engaging closely with UNRWA and other donors on this issue,” he wrote on X.

“Should the allegations prove to be accurate, Canada expects UNRWA to immediately act against those determined to have been involved in Hamas’s terrorist attacks.”

The US halted funding to UNRWA on Friday as a result of of the allegations in opposition to 12 staff who “may have been involved” within the Hamas assault.

Lazzarini didn’t disclose the quantity of staff nor the character of their alleged involvement, however stated “any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror” can be held accountable, together with via prison prosecution.

UN chief Antonio Guterres has pledged to conduct an “urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA”.

At least 26,257 folks have been killed and 64,797 wounded in Israeli assaults on Gaza since October 7.

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