UNRWA claims: UK halts aid to UN agency over allegation staff helped Hamas attack

via bbc.com

Several countries including the UK have paused funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

It comes after the agency announced the sacking of several of its staff over allegations they were involved in the 7 October Hamas attacks.

The UK government said it was “appalled” by Israel’s allegations.

The US, Australia, Italy, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany have also suspended additional funding to the UN agency.

Created in 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, is the biggest UN agency operating in Gaza.

It provides health care, education and other humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It employs around 13,000 people inside Gaza.

Since Israel began its offensive in response to the 7 October attacks, UNRWA has used its facilities across Gaza to shelter hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians.

It says it has ordered an investigation into information supplied by Israel.

Israel has long accused different branches of the United Nations including UNRWA of bias and even of antisemitism.

Speaking to the BBC, the organisation’s former chief spokesperson, Christopher Gunness, said that the suspension of aid to UNRWA was disproportionate and can only lead to further suffering in Gaza.