After the publication last Friday of “a comprehensive report on the alleged UNRWA cooperation (the United Nations agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees) with Hamas“by the Executive of Binyamin Netanyahu, every day new countries have joined the decision to withdraw their funding from the agency, which this Monday warned that if it continues like this it will be forced to stop its services and operations, as explained by a spokesperson to the media specialized in the East. Next Al-Monitor. Until this Monday, 16 governments have announced that they are freezing their contributions to UNRWA while they wait for the allegations against a dozen workers to have participated in the October 7 attacks against Israel to be clarified.
UNRWA was created in the year 1949 to assist the thousands of Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their homes in historic Palestine and found refuge in adjacent Arab countries or in camps created in present-day Palestine. West Bank or Gaza. Since 75 years, this United Nations agency manages the well-being of those refugees and their descendants, through education, health, camp infrastructure and humanitarian assistance. Israel has never had a good relationship with her. Throughout its existence, it has dedicated a string of accusationslike your school supplies they glorify terrorism and anti-Israel incitement or perpetuates the conflict Palestinian-Israeli. A month ago, Israeli media revealed a plan by the Israeli Government to expel UNRWA from the Gaza Strip once the war was over. AND Walnut Arbella former Israeli Foreign Ministry official, stated in the Israeli Parliament on January 4: “It will be Impossible to win the war if we do not destroy UNRWAand this destruction must begin immediately.”
The current scandal broke out after information presented by the Israeli military intelligence and the Shin Bet to the United States and UNRWA on Friday. In them, they denounced that 12 agency staff They had participated in the October 7 attack on Israeli border communities that killed 1,200 people. UNRWA, which employs 13,000 Palestinians in Gaza, fired the defendants and began its own investigation. Without waiting for results, Washingtonits main donor along with Germany and the European Union, chose to suspend funding to the organization in the midst of a humanitarian disaster in the enclave. After the US, they continued Australia, Germany, Italy, Finland, France, Netherlands, Austria, United Kingdom, Romania, Japan, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Canada. Both Spain and the European Commission have said that they will not withdraw the funds.
The impact could be irreversible at one of the most critical moments for the Palestinian population, especially in the Gaza Strip, where the 75% of the population was already refugees Before the war. “If funding is not resumed, UNRWA will not be able to continue its services and operations throughout the region, including Gaza, beyond the end of February“, a spokesperson for the agency has warned. UNRWA provides humanitarian assistance to some 5.9 million Palestinian refugees, in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In order to support this population, the agency depends almost exclusively on voluntary contributions of the UN member states. The consequences could be even more catastrophic for the hell that Gaza has become after 115 days of war and more than 26,257 deaths.
Impact on the ground
Of the 1.7 million displaced people, almost three quarters of the population total of the enclave, the majority are taking refuge in overcrowded schools and facilities of the UNRWA. These infrastructures have also been targets of attacks. At least 152 of its workers They have died because of the war. In the midst of a total siege and a suffocating shortage, in the last three months, the agency has delivered medical supplies worth 8.7 million euros, 19 million liters of water and 4.7 million cans of food, according to a report published this Monday. They have also managed to give more than 60,000 mattresses to people who have been left homeless, two million family hygiene kits and 3.1 million diapers. “More of two million people depend (on UNRWA) for their mere survival; many are hungry as the clock ticks towards imminent famine “he has denounced Philippe Lazzarinithe agency’s commissioner general.
“The Palestinians in Gaza did not need this added collective punishment; “This makes us all dirty,” he added in a statement this Saturday. “I urge countries that have suspended their financing to reconsider your decisions before UNRWA is forced to suspend its humanitarian response,” Lazzarini expressed urgently, as did the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. Without this help, some two million people, practically the entire population of Gaza, can see their little chance of survival to war, siege and famine further minimized. Practically extinct.