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Russia objects to dismissal of UN Agency’s employees based on Israeli claims

March 5, 2024 at 1:56 pm

A view of destruction at UNRWA headquarters, which provides aid to millions of Palestinians and works under the United Nations, is targeted by Israel in Gaza City, Gaza on February 11, 2024 [Karam Hassan/Anadolu Agency]

Russia, on Tuesday, opposed the dismissal of the UN Agency for Palestinian refugees’ (UNRWA) employees based on Israeli claims, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Security Council, Vasilya Nebenzya, urged the Agency management to reconsider the step.

“We note that these employees were immediately dismissed before any investigation was carried out only on the basis of accusations from Israel. … We urge you to reconsider this step until all the circumstances of the incident are clarified,” he emphasised.

Suspicions are not grounds for such drastic disciplinary actions, accusations against 12 Agency’s representatives cannot be used to “indiscriminately denigrate the entire UN structure”, he stressed.

“The Agency’s funding must be restored in full, otherwise the Agency’s blackmailers will fully share the blame with Israel for all the consequences for the people of Gaza from this inhumane step,” he said.

Several countries, including the US, Britain, Germany and Canada, announced the suspension of funding for UNRWA due to suspected links with the Palestinian movement, Hamas.

The Agency’s Commissioner-General, Filippo Lazzarini, ordered the dismissal of several agency employees who were allegedly involved in the attack by Hamas on Israel on 7 October,  2023.

Israel has launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border incursion by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on 7 October, 2023. The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed 30,631 people and injured 72,043 others with mass destruction and shortages of necessities

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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