War between Israel and Hamas: the UN agency for Palestinian refugees at the heart of a controversy

12 UNRWA employees were allegedly involved in the October 7 Hamas attack, according to Israeli accusations.

War between Israel and Hamas: the UN agency for Palestinian refugees at the heart of a controversy

12 UNRWA employees were allegedly involved in the October 7 Hamas attack, according to Israeli accusations. Several countries suspended their funding on Saturday January 27.

After accusations that employees of UNRWA (the UN agency for Palestinian refugees) were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack, Israel demands that the agency no longer play any role in Gaza . On Friday January 26, Unrwa separated several employees. “Any employee who has been involved in acts of terrorism will have to respond, including through legal proceedings,” according to a press release from Philippe Lazzarini, director of the agency.

According to the United States, 12 employees are under investigation. No details were given on their level of involvement. Hamas denounces blackmail on the part of Israel, and asks "the United Nations and international organizations not to give in to threats". He also accuses Israel of wanting to “cut off funds and deprive” the population of Gaza of international aid.

France indicated that it had “taken note with dismay of the information communicated today” and calls on UNRWA to “take measures to ensure that no hate speech can no longer flourish within it without firm sanctions”. according to a press release from the Quai d'Orsay. The United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and Italy decided to suspend their aid to UNWRA on Saturday January 27. The United States is the agency's largest contributor, donating $300 million a year. Their funding had already been cut under the Trump administration, before being restored upon the arrival of Joe Biden.

The Palestinian Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, deplores this situation and emphasizes that UNRWA needs "maximum support and not that support and assistance be cut off." UNRWA is responsible for running schools and providing aid to thousands of Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories. 30,000 people are employed, its annual budget is $925 million.

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