UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to donor countries to “ensure the continuity” of the operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)This is after many of them suspended funding the agency against the backdrop of Israel’s accusations that employees of the agency may be involved in an operation Al-Aqsa flood.
“While I understand her concern – and I too am appalled by these accusations – I appeal to the governments that have suspended their contributions to at least ensure the continuity of UNRWA operations,” Guterres said in a statement.
Over the past two days, 9 countries – including important donors such as the United States, Britain and Germany – decided to suspend their funding to the relief agency in Gaza strip After Israel accused 12 of the agency's employees – numbering several thousand – of participating in the attack carried out by the Palestinian resistance on October 7, in response to the ongoing Israeli attacks.
After the agency announced the dismissal of those employees subject to the alleged accusations, Guterres pledged on Sunday to “hold accountable any employee of the international organization involved in terrorist acts, including criminal prosecution,” but he appealed to governments to continue supporting the agency.
In its coverage of the developments, the German News Agency noted that neither the United Nations nor Israel provided details regarding how employees were involved in Hamas attacks.
Meanwhile, Israel continued its pressure on the relief agency, as its Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, demanded the resignation of the agency’s Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, and demanded that more countries join the campaign to stop funding UNRWA.
In turn, Israeli government spokesman Elon Levy accused UNRWA of being a front for Hamas, and wrote on his Twitter account, “It is literally covering for Hamas.”
On the other hand, Hamas strongly condemned the Israeli campaign of incitement “against the international institutions that contribute to providing relief to our people who are being subjected to genocide.”
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini warned yesterday evening, Saturday, of the collapse of the provision of aid to millions of needy people in Gaza, and said that the suspension of 9 countries’ funding to the agency threatens its ongoing humanitarian work throughout the region, specifically in the Gaza Strip.
A bitter human reality
Anatolia Agency says that these developments come at a time when civilians in the Gaza Strip are living in a bitter humanitarian reality, and famine is threatening the Gaza and northern governorates.
Two days ago, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip warned that about 600,000 citizens in the northern Gaza Strip face death as a result of famine, the spread of diseases, and Israeli bombing.
According to the German News Agency, UNRWA runs shelters for more than one million people and provides food and basic medical care.
It is noteworthy that UNRWA was established in December 1949 by a decision of the United Nations General Assembly after the establishment of the State of Israel on the land of Palestine, succeeding the United Nations Program to Assist Palestine Refugees, which was established the previous year.
Since that time, UNRWA has become, in the absence of any other body with authority, the only body guaranteeing the international status of Palestinian refugees, as Agence France-Presse says, which indicates that The agency's employees are: 30,000, 13,000 of whom work in the Gaza Strip, distributed among more than 300 facilities.