The United States announced the temporary suspension of financing for the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) for the accusation that some members of its staff allegedly participated in Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7.
“The United States is very concerned about the alleged 12 UNRWA employees who may have been involved in a Hamas terrorist attack against Israel,” the State Department said in a statement.
Washington acknowledged that the agency has so far played “a fundamental role” in providing aid to the Palestinians, like food and medicine, and “saved lives.” Therefore, the United States emphasized that it is “important that UNRWA address these allegations and take appropriate corrective measures.”
The decision comes after UNRWA announced it had terminated the contracts of several members of its personnel who allegedly participated in these attacks and initiated an investigation to clarify the facts.
The general commissioner of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, points out that this situation will happen after the Israeli authorities provide information to UNRWA regarding the alleged involvement of several employees in the horrific attacks against Israel on October 7.”
For the commissioner general, “anyone who betrays the fundamental values of the United Nations It also betrays those we serve in Gazathroughout the region and the rest of the world.
Israel has UNRWA has repeatedly been accused of colluding with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and asserted that several of its members are militants of the Islamist group, something the UN has consistently denied.
Guterres ordered the investigation
For his part, the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, ordered an investigation to clarify the possible involvement of agency members in the October 7 attacks.
According to a statement released by his spokesman, Guterres was the first to be informed by Lazzarini about the “very serious allegations,” and Guterres was “horrified.”
After that, he asked Lazzarini for a quick investigation that ended in dismissal “and a potential criminal prosecution” against any member of the agency proven to have participated in the events, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,100 people—mostly Israeli civilians—and the kidnapping of another 240.
In addition to the investigation, Guterres announced another global increase in the overall activity of UNRWA.