Press "Enter" to skip to content

Funding suspension forces UNRWA to halt all Gaza activities in weeks: official

Funding suspension would force UNRWA to halt all its activities in the conflict-ridden Gaza Strip in a few weeks, the UN relief agency’s commissioner-general said Sunday.

Philippe Lazzarini said on his social media X account that the suspension decision is “regrettable,” stressing that the agency “relies on the support of our partners to maintain our humanitarian response to two million people in Gaza and Palestinian refugees in the region.”

The United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, Australia, Finland, and the Netherlands decided to pause funding to UNRWA after Israel accused several UNRWA employees of suspected involvement in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel last year.

Lazzarini said he was “shocked” upon knowing the accusations against its employees, adding that the agency has decided to “dismiss the employees concerned and to commence an investigation without delay.”

“UNRWA is also implementing structural reforms to enhance the commitment of its staff to humanitarian principles, including the principle of neutrality, with independent experts responsible for assessing and deepening our efforts in this direction,” he noted.

UNRWA, established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949, is tasked to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees registered in the agency’s operational areas until a just and lasting solution to their plight is found.

Also on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani condemned Israel’s accusations against UNRWA employees. “The accusations hurled by Israel against some of the UNRWA staff members are another malicious act in completion of Israel’s inhumane actions against Palestinians,” he was quoted in a statement published on the ministry’s website as saying. ■

Famagusta Gazette