The Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, said on Saturday that the Israeli government had accused some UNRWA staff of “shocking” funding cuts to the agency by several countries. He called on these countries to reverse their decisions after the “Al-Aqsa Flood” attack by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on October 7.
“It is shocking to see the agency's funding suspended in response to allegations against a small group of staff,” Lazzarini said in a statement, particularly at the UN. In light of the actions taken by the agency, “more than two million people depend. on their lives.”
“These decisions threaten the ongoing humanitarian work in the region, especially in Gaza,” he stressed, adding that Palestinians in the Gaza Strip do not need this additional collective punishment.
Lazzarini previously vowed to hold accountable any employee of the agency found to be involved in “acts of terrorism,” including criminal prosecution.
In the attack on October 7, the UN After Israel accused the organization's staff of involvement, Australia, Canada, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, DMK. Netherlands, Britain and USA.
The Scottish Government has announced that there are no plans to provide additional support to UNRWA at this stage.
For its part, the German Foreign Ministry said in a statement that unless the allegation was clarified, “Germany, in agreement with other donor countries, will refrain from agreeing to provide additional evidence at this time.”
Commenting on this, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, UN rapporteur on the right to housing, told Al Jazeera that the suspension of funding by some countries to UNRWA is a collective punishment for the residents of Gaza and cannot punish a single people. Mistakes by individuals in agency.
For his part, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said the people of Gaza were suffering unimaginable horrors and deprivation and the time was not right to let them down.
In turn, former British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn saw Britain's joining other countries in cutting funding to UNRWA as collective punishment, and urged the British government to be ashamed of its moral turpitude against the Palestinians.
On Saturday, Hamas condemned Israeli “threats” against UNRWA and other UN bodies, and called on “the United Nations and international organizations not to succumb to Israel's threats and intimidation.”
In response, Israel said it would seek to prevent UNRWA from working in the Gaza Strip after the war ended.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on Platform X on Saturday that the Foreign Ministry aims to ensure that the UNRWA “will not be part of the phase” that follows the war, and that he will seek to mobilize support from the US and European countries. Union and other major donors.
Later, Katz said in a statement that “during the Gaza reconstruction phase, UNRWA must be replaced by agencies dedicated to peace and development” and called on donors to freeze their funding.
UNRWA responded by dismissing several staff members in the wake of the Israeli accusations and vowing to conduct a comprehensive investigation, while at the same time the U.N. in the Gaza Strip after the war. Israel confirmed that it was trying to prevent the agency from working.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged to conduct an “independent, urgent and comprehensive review of the UNRWA,” according to his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.