Sixteen countries froze their contributions to the UN Refugee Agency (UNRWA) after Israel accused a dozen of its employees in Gaza of having participated in the brutal Hamas attack on October 7.
The first to take that step was the United States, which was followed by Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Romania, Japan, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
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The European Commission (EC) said this Monday that it will make a decision in light of the investigation launched into this case by the UN.
What Israel's accusation against the UN Palestinian refugee agency says
On Friday, Israel accused several UNRWA employees of having been involved in the attack by the Islamic movement Hamas on its territory on October 7, which left 1,200 dead and 240 people kidnapped.
UNRWA dismissed the accused and promised that it would thoroughly investigate the case and that those involved would be prosecuted if their involvement was proven. Still, Israel announced its decision to ban the agency from continuing to operate in Gaza after the war.
The UN investigates its agency for Palestinian refugees (Photo: AFP)
According to the Israeli indictment, UNRWA employees kidnapped Israelis, transported ammunition and the body of a soldier, and participated in a deadly assault on a kibbutz, according to The New York Times.
The report mentions 12 agency workers involved in the massacre. According to him, 10 are members of Hamas.
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Hamas denied the claim. “We strongly condemn the campaign of incitement launched by the Zionist criminal entity against international institutions that contribute to the relief of our people, who are being subjected to Nazi genocide,” he said in a statement.
Which countries maintain aid to the agency for Palestinian refugees?
Of the other large donors – with contributions above 10 million dollars per year – only Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Belgium maintain their contributions, as do Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
However, they warned that they will be attentive to the results of the open investigations.
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For his part, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asked the international community not to suspend its support for the agency. “The alleged horrendous acts of these employees must have consequences,” but there are also “tens of thousands of people,” about 30,000, who work for her and who should not be penalized, he maintained.
His request was supported by twenty humanitarian NGOs, which warned of the risk of a suspension of funds for the agency. “We could witness a complete collapse of the already restricted humanitarian response in Gaza,” they warned.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, urged the agency this Monday to immediately investigate the dozen workers allegedly involved in the Hamas attack against Israel.
In a press conference, Blinken acknowledged that the agency has “an absolutely indispensable role” in meeting the humanitarian needs of the Gaza population and that there is no one who can replace it in the short term. For this reason, the head of US diplomacy stated, it is “imperative” that UNRWA address this issue in the “quickest, most effective and exhaustive manner possible.”