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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Austria Lifts UNRWA Funding Freeze


Sat 18 May 2024 | 07:09 PM
Israa Farhan

Austria will release funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after it had been suspended following Israeli accusations that some agency employees participated in the October 7 attack.

The decision comes after UNRWA implemented a new action plan to ensure its neutrality, strengthen internal audits, and improve employee monitoring.

The Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on Saturday, "After a thorough analysis of the action plan, we will resume funding for UNRWA." The ministry added that a total of €3.4 million ($3.7 million) has been allocated in the 2024 budget, with the first installment scheduled for disbursement in the summer.

Austria was among several donor countries that froze approximately $450 million in funds following accusations by Israel that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the Hamas attack, which triggered the war in Gaza.

Last month, Germany also announced it would resume cooperation with UNRWA after a report led by former Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna reviewed the agency's measures to uphold neutrality principles.

UNRWA employs 32,000 people in the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries, including 13,000 in Gaza, who manage schools and social services.