United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appealed to donor nations to ensure the ongoing operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) are maintained.
This plea comes in the wake of several countries suspending their funding to the agency following Israeli allegations that UNRWA staff might be involved in a Hamas attack on October 7th.
In a statement, Guterres said, "While I understand their concerns, and am equally disturbed by these accusations, I urge the governments that have suspended their contributions to at least ensure the continuity of UNRWA operations."
Key donor countries to UNRWA, including the United States, Australia, Italy, Canada, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United Kingdom, announced a suspension of their funding following the Israeli claims. These allegations suggest that UNRWA staff members participated in the October 7th attack.
In response to these allegations, UNRWA has dismissed several of its employees and has committed to conducting a thorough investigation. Meanwhile, Tel Aviv has affirmed its intention to seek a cessation of the UN agency's operations in the Gaza Strip following the end of the war.
Guterres' appeal underscores the critical nature of UNRWA's work in providing assistance and support to Palestinian refugees, especially in conflict-affected areas like Gaza. The suspension of funding by major donor countries could significantly impact the agency's ability to carry out its vital humanitarian work.
The situation remains tense, with international attention focused on the potential repercussions of the funding suspension and the ongoing investigation into the Israeli allegations. The resolution of this issue is crucial for the continuation of essential services and support to Palestinian refugees in the region.