The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) announced its decision to terminate the contracts of some of its staff members who allegedly participated in the attacks against Israel on October 7 and to launch an investigation to clarify the truth.
UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement that he had taken “the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of its staff, as well as to launch an investigation to establish the truth without delay.” “We want to protect the agency’s ability to provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip,” he said.
In addition, in the note, Lazzarini pointed out that this situation occurs after “the Israeli authorities provided UNRWA with information about the alleged participation of some UNRWA employees in terrible attacks against Israel on October 7.”
US suspends funding for UNRWA
Precisely this Friday, the United States announced the temporary suspension of funding for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) due to accusations that several members of its staff allegedly participated in attacks by the armed wing of Hamas against Israel on October 7.
“The United States is deeply concerned about allegations that 12 UNRWA employees may have been involved in a Hamas terrorist attack against Israel,” the State Department said in a statement.
Thus, US diplomacy announced that it “temporarily suspended additional funding for UNRWA” while it reviewed “these allegations and the steps taken by the United Nations to address them.”
In this sense, the United States recognizes that the agency has so far played “a fundamental role” in providing aid to the Palestinians, such as food and medicine, and “saving lives.” Therefore, he emphasized that “it is important for UNRWA to address these allegations and take appropriate corrective measures.”
In that sense, the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, spoke on Thursday with the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, to ask him for “a rapid and complete investigation on this matter.” The administration of President Joe Biden has also contacted the government of Israel to “request more information about these accusations.” “There must be full accountability for anyone who participated in the horrific attacks on October 7,” the State Department stressed.
Afterwards, the White House announced that it would consider taking other steps regarding UNRWA “depending on the outcome” of the investigations. “We will consider further changes in the way we interact with UNRWA,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said at a press conference.
For its part, Israel has repeatedly accused UNRWA of colluding with Hamas in Gaza and has asserted that many of its members are, in fact, militants of the Islamist group, something the UN has consistently denied.
With more than 30,000 employees, UNRWA is the largest organization in Gaza outside the Government of Gaza. The war in Gaza erupted on October 7 when the armed wing of Hamas carried out a massacre in Israel in which 1,200 people died. Since then, Israel’s offensive against the Strip has left more than 26,000 dead, according to Gaza authorities, and caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.