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Shtayyeh: Countries that announced a freeze in their support for UNRWA must withdraw and refinance it


Today, Sunday, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh called on countries that announced a freeze in their support for UNRWA to reverse their decision and return funding to the agency.

Sun 28 Jan 2024 | 06:32 PM
Shtayyeh calls on the countries that announced the freezing of their support for UNRWA to withdraw and refinance it
Shtayyeh calls on the countries that announced the freezing of their support for UNRWA to withdraw and refinance it
amir hagag

Today, Sunday, Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh called on countries that announced a freeze in their support for UNRWA to reverse their decision and return funding to the agency.

Shtayyeh said, during a press conference held at the Council of Ministers headquarters in the city of Ramallah: “President Mahmoud Abbas, and we with him, view with great danger the fight against UNRWA and the halting of funding for it, and therefore we call on the countries that froze their aid to return to this measure.

He said: What UNRWA and the rest of the international institutions are doing is humanitarian work that must continue.

He pointed out that this measure is dangerous and must be reversed, noting that the countries that announced a freeze in their aid to UNRWA contribute about 70% of the agency’s budget, which contributes to the relief of about 1.7 million people in the Gaza Strip.

He added that this freeze of aid coincides with Israel's plan to displace our people from Gaza, and it must stop, indicating that the freeze of aid comes in the most difficult circumstances, and at a time when the International Court of Justice said that Israel must allow aid to enter Gaza immediately.

He pointed out that the International Court of Justice has taken a number of important decisions, whether from a political, legal or humanitarian perspective.

Shtayyeh said that in the context of Israel's allegations against a small number of the agency's employees, and without even waiting for the results of the investigation announced by UNRWA, an international campaign was launched against the agency, despite the institution's assertion that it is not responsible for the work of any individual working for it.

He explained that Israel's war on UNRWA and refugees is not new, and that Israel has been working for some time to liquidate the relief agency because of its connection to the issue of refugees and the right of return.

In this context, the repeated aggression against all camps takes place, whether in the Gaza Strip or here in the West Bank, especially the camps of Jenin, Tulkarm, Nour Shams, Balata, Al-Fawwar, Aqabat Jabr, and Dheisheh.

The Prime Minister continued that the Israeli attack on the United Nations, especially UNRWA, is a retaliatory attack because of the testimonies and statements issued by them, which were used in the International Court of Justice to condemn Israel.

He pointed out that the freeze of support comes on the 114th day of the aggression against Gaza, and killing is increasing, displacement, starvation, and cutting off water and electricity are continuing, at a time when the aid provided is not sufficient for more than 8% of needs, and hospitals are still idle, and there are about 26 thousand martyrs, and more 62 One thousand wounded, in addition to 9 thousand missing, most of them under the rubble, and the massive destruction of infrastructure in all areas of the Gaza Strip.

He stressed that the world must start taking punitive measures against Israel and not against an international humanitarian organization that serves Israel's victims, indicating that freezing UNRWA aid is an obstruction of the court's decision aimed at increasing the entry of relief aid into the Gaza Strip, and will have devastating effects on the souls of our needy people there.

He added that this difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip indicates the need for a greater effort from all institutions, including UNRWA, to help those in need.

Shtayyeh explained that UNRWA constitutes a cumulative memory of the suffering of Palestinian refugees in all their locations, in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the Gaza Strip, and the West Bank.

The Prime Minister pointed out that UNRWA, throughout its years of work, has been a source of hope for Palestinian refugees for assistance and to return to their homes within the framework of United Nations resolutions, especially Resolution (194).