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UN experts condemn any efforts to delegitimise UN agency for Palestinian refugees as a whole

February 2, 2024 at 2:58 pm

Palestinians, who left their homes and took refuge in Rafah city under hard conditions, carry the flour they received at the area where UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) distributes flour to families as Israeli attacks continue in Rafah of Gaza on January 28, 2024 [Ahmed Zaqout – Anadolu Agency]

Amid Israeli allegations and funding cuts, UN experts, on Friday, condemned in the “strongest possible terms any efforts to delegitimise” the UN agency for Palestinians, or UNRWA, as a whole, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The grossly disproportionate decision to suspend funding by some of the largest donor states defies the basic principle of humanity, and goes against States’ commitment to leave no one behind,” the UN experts said in a statement.

“Denying basic human necessities, life-saving medical care, food, shelter, and ante-natal care for pregnant women, is not just indefensible – it is a hindrance to the already complex journey toward peace,” they underscored.

So far, the US, Germany, the UK, Australia, Austria, Italy, Japan, Canada, the Netherlands, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, New Zealand, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland have all announced the suspension of funding for the Agency over Israeli allegations that some of its staffers were involved in Palestinian group Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel.

“These (funding cut) announcements come at an existential moment for over two million Palestinians in Gaza enduring catastrophic living conditions due to Israel’s large-scale military attack that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) considers a plausible genocide,” the experts underlined, referring to an interim World Court ruling last month.

They added: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms any efforts to delegitimise UNRWA as a whole.”

They called on States to rally around the Agency, urging leading donors to maintain their support.

“We agree with the Principals of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee that no other entity has the capacity to deliver the scale and breadth of assistance that 2.2 million people in Gaza urgently need,” they stated.

The Agency said it terminated contracts with several employees following the Israeli allegations and launched an internal investigation.

Israel has killed more than 27,000 people in the Gaza Strip in response to the 7 October cross-border offensive by Hamas, which took the lives of 1,200 people and took 240 as hostages. The military onslaught has caused mass displacement and destruction and created conditions ripe for famine.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

WATCH: ‘Attacks on UNRWA are about squeezing the Palestinians’: MEMO in Conversation with Chris Gunness