UNRWA Could Shut Down by End of February Without Funding
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Thursday that it would most likely have to end its operations in the Middle East, including in Gaza, by the end of February if international funding — which was cut following Israeli accusations that UNRWA staff participated in ...
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Thursday that it would most likely have to end its operations in the Middle East, including in Gaza, by the end of February if international funding — which was cut following Israeli accusations that UNRWA staff participated in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack — doesn't resume.1
Israel has shared intelligence with foreign governments alleging that four UNRWA employees were involved in kidnapping Israelis and another worker provided 'logistics support,' further claiming that 10% of its staff are active militants. The UNRWA said that it had terminated the contracts of the accused staff and ordered an investigation.2
More than a dozen donor nations, including the US, immediately suspended their contributions to the agency after Israel made its accusations last week. However, on Tuesday, the US State Department said that the UNRWA had already received over 99% of the money allocated by Congress.3
In contrast, Norway, Ireland, and Spain have been more critical of Israel's claims and decided to continue supporting UNRWA, with Madrid saying that it had tripled its funding for aid in Palestine in recent months to around €50M ($54M).4
The UNRWA, which has around 13K employees in Gaza, said that its operations have been threatened as some $440M worth of funds have been suspended. Since the war in Gaza began, the UNRWA has been involved in delivering aid to displaced Palestinians and providing shelter.5
The refugee agency also provides aid to Palestinians who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel during its establishment and the ensuing war with its neighbors, operating schools, health clinics, infrastructure projects, and aid programs in refugee camps in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.6
Pro-Palestine narrative, as provided by Middle East Eye. Though Palestinians have many issues with the UNRWA, the US and Israel-led campaign to demonize the agency as Gaza's humanitarian situation deteriorates even further is immoral and cruel. Even if Israel's unfounded allegations are true, the number of employees implicated would not be nearly enough to warrant suspending the agency's funding, which is essential to providing basic amenities to displaced Palestinians. Targeting the UNRWA is a form of collective punishment that will only hurt innocent civilians.
Pro-Israel narrative, as provided by New York Post. There is no question that the UNRWA has been at least partially complicit in Hamas's atrocious actions. Hamas is an authoritarian terrorist group, and no organization can operate in Gaza without the group's approval and cooperation. Since its establishment, the UNRWA has created false hope among Palestinians that one day Israel will cease to exist, and a comprehensive review of the agency and its purpose is long overdue.