The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operating in Gaza, which successfully secured thousands of jobs and provided food and housing to the Palestinians in the strip, is now facing one of the most horrendous accusations by Israel and the United States: alleged participation in the October 7 attack on Israel.
On Friday, January 26th, Israeli officials notified the UNRWA of the allegations, claiming that some of its employees had facilitated the Hamas attack. As a result, 12 UNRWA employees were immediately fired and are currently under investigation.
The Head of the UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, responded to the allegations, saying “Any UNRWA employee who was involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.”
The U.S. Department of State also issued a press statement, saying it’s “extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations…”
The US is, by far, the largest donor to the UNRWA, providing more than $340 million only in 2022. Now, as the humanitarian crisis is worsening in Gaza, the main support agency is facing a struggle with funding. Following in the US footsteps, both Canada and Australia have also paused funding to the agency.
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