Head of United Nations agency urges swift EU aid for Palestinian refugees

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The caput of nan U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Monday that it’s captious that it receives caller European Union backing wrong weeks because Israel appears to beryllium readying a crushed battle connected Rafah, wherever galore civilians person taken refuge.

The assistance agency UNRWA is reeling from allegations that 12 of its 13,000 Gaza unit participated successful nan Oct. 7 Hamas attacks successful confederate Israel.UNRWA instantly fired nan staff, but much than a twelve countries suspended backing worthy astir $440 million, almost half of UNRWA’s budget for 2024.

Asked really important it is that UNRWA person an $88 cardinal EU costs by nan extremity of nan month, UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said, "It’s perfectly critical." He has antecedently warned that nan agency mightiness beryllium forced to adjacent by nan extremity of nan month.


Two U.N. investigations into Israel’s allegations are underway, but nan European Commission -– nan 3rd biggest philanthropist to UNRWA aft nan United States and Germany -– has demanded a abstracted audit and wants to name experts to transportation it out.

The audit would attraction "on nan power systems needed to forestall nan imaginable engagement of (UNRWA) unit successful violent activities," nan EU’s executive branch said. It besides is insisting connected "a reappraisal of each UNRWA staff" to corroborate they had nary domiciled successful nan attacks.

Of nan U.N. agency’s 13,000 Gaza unit members, much than 3,000 proceed moving there. Screening them each wrong weeks would beryllium impossible, and clip is of nan essence.

The agency has been nan main supplier of food, h2o and shelter during nan warfare successful Gaza, wherever astir 85% of nan organization has been displaced.

Part of nan audit would impact a caller "pillar assessment" of UNRWA. The committee routinely carries retired these checks of agencies that it costs to guarantee that they’re complying pinch EU standards.

But moreover nan EU’s situation guidance commissioner, Janez Lenarcic, conceded connected Monday that specified an appraisal of UNRWA "has been concluded very recently." The agency was besides included successful an audit nan committee launched successful October, which recovered that nary costs were reaching Hamas.

Lazzarini was successful Brussels connected Monday to update EU ministers responsible for improvement argumentation connected nan agency’s needs and nan allegations against it.

EU overseas argumentation main Josep Borrell, who chaired nan meeting, told reporters that "nobody other tin do what UNRWA is doing."


"The presumption of innocence is valid for everyone, astatine immoderate time, moreover for UNRWA. It is not a concealed that nan Israeli authorities wants to get free of UNRWA," Borrell said.

Israel has agelong accused UNRWA of tolerating aliases moreover collaborating pinch Hamas activities successful aliases astir U.N. facilities, but it had stopped short of demanding nan agency’s contiguous closure. No 1 -– successful Israel aliases overseas -– has offered an replacement for delivering assistance to Gaza’s besieged population.

But complete nan weekend, nan Israeli subject said it had discovered tunnels underneath nan agency's main office successful Gaza City, alleging that Hamas militants utilized nan abstraction arsenic an electrical proviso room.

Borrell warned that if UNRWA ceases to operate, "it will make it still worse. You know, hundreds of thousands of group are being fed, eat, mundane acknowledgment to nan activity of UNRWA. And not only successful Gaza, successful Lebanon, successful Syria, successful Jordan."