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Ireland condemns ‘propaganda campaign’ against UNRWA

March 13, 2024 at 8:28 am

Michael D.Higgins, the Ireland President, on February 11, 2024 in Dublin, Ireland. [David Rogers/Getty Images]

Irish President Michael Higgins has slammed Israel’s propaganda campaign against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as “a scandalous travesty” to the heroic efforts of the agency’s employees.

Higgins made the remarks in a statement issued yesterday after UN Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, said that “Israel is implementing a campaign to eliminate UNRWA.”

“The situation we are witnessing now in Gaza is one that global public opinion should not be distracted from or turn a blind eye to,” Higgins said, adding that “this is a matter of life and death. The blockade imposed on food and aid must be stopped immediately.”

The Irish president stressed that aid that could be delivered immediately was being prevented “in a scandalous manner,” and that those responsible must bear responsibility for the deaths that occurred.

Higgins has also criticised countries that suspended funding to UNRWA, saying they must take into account children who die from lack of oxygen and children who die from malnutrition.

He stressed that all members of the United Nations should take note and be concerned about Lazzarini’s warnings about the existence of a campaign against the agency.

Since 26 January, 18 countries and the European Union have suspended funding to UNRWA, after Israel alleged that 12 UNRWA employees had participated in the Hamas attack on 7 October. Israel has, to date, provided no proof of these claims.

Israel has repeatedly equated UNRWA staff with Hamas members in efforts to discredit them, providing no proof of the claims, while lobbying hard to have UNRWA closed as it is the only UN agency to have a specific mandate to look after the basic needs of Palestinian refugees. If the agency no longer exists, argues Israel, then the refugee issue must no longer exist, and the legitimate right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land will be unnecessary. Israel has denied that right of return since the late 1940s, even though its own membership of the UN was made conditional upon Palestinian refugees being allowed to return to their homes and land.

Read: Humanitarian aid is a genocidal tool in the hands of Israel and the US