Western countries froze their funding for The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), while the United Nations called on these countries to hold the decision.
The Arab League said that Israeli incitement against the agency aims to eliminate its role, as Egypt affirmed its support for the UNRWA.
Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France joined Australia, Canada, Finland, Italy, Britain and the US in cutting their funding to the UNRWA, after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused the agency’s employees of participating in al-Aqsa Flood operation.
The agency announced the dismissal of nine employees following the accusation.
In a statement on Sunday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, appealed to donor countries to ensure the continuation of UNRWA operations in Gaza.
The Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, confirmed that the people of Gaza are suffering from unimaginable horrors and deprivation, and that this is not the time to deprive them of aid.
The Commissioner-General of the UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, described the cessation of funding to UNRWA in Gaza as “shocking.”
The United Nations Special Rapporteur concerned with Palestine, Francesca Albanese, said that the countries that suspended their funding were participating in “genocide” in the Gaza Strip.
Egypt backs the UNRWA
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made a phone call on Sunday with Philippe Lazzarini, during which he stressed the pivotal role played by the UNRWA, in accordance with its UN mandate, in providing basic services to Palestinian refugees.
He also praised its indispensable efforts in providing safe haven and provision of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
Shoukry said that attempts to target the UNRWA in light of this difficult time exacerbate deadly impact of Israel’s siege, starvation and collective punishment on Gaza.
He stressed Egypt’s full solidarity with the UNRWA and providing all forms of support to ensure its continuation.
And the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul-Gheit, stressed that the systematic incitement campaign led by Israel aims to completely eliminate the UNRWA’s role, after its headquarters were targeted with attacks as part of the war it is waging on Gaza Strip and its employees targeted for killing.