EU urges donors to fund UN agency for Palestinians after review

AFP , Tuesday 23 Apr 2024

The EU's humanitarian chief on Tuesday urged international donors to fund the UN agency for Palestinians after a review said Israel had not provided evidence to allegations that hundreds of staff were members of Hamas.

Janez Lenarcic
European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic. AFP


European commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic welcomed the report for "underlining the agency's significant number of compliance systems in place as well as recommendations for their further upgrade."

"I call on the donors to support UNRWA - the Palestinian refugees' lifeline," he wrote on X.



An independent review group on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency said "Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence" for its claim that UNRWA employs more than 400 "terrorists."

The review group led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna was created to investigate allegations made by Israel in January that some UNRWA staff may have participated in the 7 October 2023 Hamas offensive.

In the weeks that followed, numerous donor states suspended or paused some $450 million in funding.

Many have since resumed funding, including Sweden, Canada, Japan, the EU and France -- while others, including the United States and Britain -- have not.

The US Congress passed a bill signed into law by President Joe Biden last month that blocks funding from Washington until March 2025.

The freezes to UNRWA come as months of Israel's war on Gaza have turned the territory into a "humanitarian hellscape," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said recently, with over 85 percent of its 2.4 million residents displaced and around 50 percent facing famine, some already enduring "famine-like conditions" in northern Gaza.

UNRWA began operations in 1950 and provides services to nearly six million people across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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