Western states halt funding of UN Palestinian refugee agency — RT World News

Western states halt funding of UN Palestinian refugee agency — RT World News

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Multiple Western countries have suspended the funding to the UN Palestinian refugee agency in response to Israeli allegations that a number of its employees had participated in the deadly October 7 Hamas attack.

The US, UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Finland, and Australia have stopped sending money to UNRWA as of Saturday, according to Reuters. The decisions came after the agency fired an unspecified number of its staffers and launched an investigation into their alleged ties to Palestinian militants.

“The Israeli authorities have provided UNRWA with information about the alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on 7 October,” the agency’s commissioner general, Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement on Friday. “Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”

UN Secretary General Antionio Guterres is “horrified” by the allegations against the UN personnel, his office said.

The funding shutoff is expected to affect hundreds of millions of dollars in much-needed aid to the agency, which provides shelter and food for displaced Palestinians – a category that currently encompasses over 85% of residents of the Gaza Strip.

Lazzarini condemned the governments who had opted to pause funding during the inquiry, warning such actions threatened the agency’s humanitarian work in the region. “Palestinians in Gaza did not need this additional collective punishment. This stains all of us,” he wrote of X (formerly Twitter).

Israel has long accused the UN and its member organizations of sympathizing with Hamas. In October, the Jewish state demanded the resignation of Guterres, accusing him of “justifying terrorism.” Israeli officials also say that the Palestinian militants are using hospitals and other civilian facilities as cover for their rocket attacks against Israel.

Israel’s allegations against UNRWA came less than a week after the International Court of Justice ordered the country to take emergency measures to prevent “genocide” in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the ruling as “outrageous.”

On October 7, Hamas carried out a surprise attack on southern Israel, killing some 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas and launching a military operation in the Gaza Strip. More than 26,000 Palestinians have since been killed, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run authorities.