UN Seeks Resumption Of Funding For Palestinian Aid Agency

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A panel of UN experts has called for the resumption of funding to the Palestinian aid agency, the United Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which takes care of the Palestinian refugees amid the ongoing Israeli assault on Hamas in Gaza.

The panel noted in a statement on Friday that UNRWA was “politically targeted” as it voiced disappointment over some countries not reinstating their funding, weeks after an independent review cleared the agency.

“The independent review ordered by the UN Secretary-General, following an increase of allegations since the onset of the military assault on Gaza in October 2023, has shown that the claim that significant numbers of UNRWA employees have ties with ‘terrorist organisations’ remains unsubstantiated,” the experts said in a statement on Friday.

Israel had accused about 12 UNRWA staffers of being involved in Hamas’ October 7 attacks; it also alleged that about 12% of the agency’s 13,000 staffers have affiliation with the militants group Hamas or other Palestinian militant groups.

Independent review established that UNRWA has demonstrated its neutrality. It however, noted that although some of its facilities were sometimes misused, Israel did not substantiate the allegations.

“UNRWA remains pivotal in providing life-saving humanitarian aid and essential social services, particularly in health and education to Palestinian refugees in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank,” the review said, adding that the agency is “irreplaceable and indispensable to Palestinians’ human and economic development.”

As of April 30, funding to UNRWA from nine states was still frozen, according to a UN statement.

Over 35,000 people have died since Israel declared war on Gaza following the October 7, 2023 attacks perpetrated by Hamas, which killed 1,200 Israeli citizens and the abduction of over 200 others in one of the deadliest attacks on Israeli soil.

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