On the on going isreal’s war on gaza, several nations, including the United States, are reassessing their support for the UN agency aiding Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, following accusations by Israel that certain agency staff were implicated in attacks by Hamas on October 7.
This move has drawn criticism from senior Palestinian figures and Hamas, with strong objections against the decision by almost a dozen Western countries to reduce their contributions. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, expressed concerns that cutting off funds to UNRWA might contravene the Genocide Convention. He highlighted the adverse impact on Palestinians in Gaza, stating, “This additional collective punishment is unnecessary and leaves a stain on everyone,” in a publication.
Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, committed on Sunday to hold accountable any UN staff involved in terrorism. However, he urged donor nations to ensure the ongoing operations of UNRWA. He emphasized the importance of not penalizing the thousands of UNRWA employees, many of whom work in extremely hazardous conditions for humanitarian aid workers. Guterres underlined the urgent necessity to address the critical needs of the populations they assist.
Countries like Ireland and Norway have declared their intention to continue funding the agency, despite the ongoing scrutiny and allegations.