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Israel will stop working with UNRWA in Gaza, official

March 26, 2024 at 8:31 am

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]

Israel will stop working with the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, a government spokesperson said yesterday, accusing the aid agency of “perpetuating conflict”, Reuters reported.

“UNRWA are part of the problem, and we will now stop working with them. We are actively phasing out the use of UNRWA because they perpetuate the conflict rather than try and alleviate the conflict,” spokesperson David Mencer told reporters.

Earlier, UNRWA chief, Philippe Lazzarini, said Israel has barred the UN agency from delivering aid to northern Gaza which is experiencing famine.

“Despite the tragedy unfolding under our watch, the Israeli Authorities informed the UN that they will no longer approve any UNRWA food convoys to the north,” Lazzarini said on X.

“This is outrageous & makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man made famine.”

Israel restricts the access of humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip, which has led to a scarcity of food, medicine and fuel supplies and caused famine especially in the northern areas that has claimed the lives of children and the elderly, amid mounting Palestinian and international accusations against Tel Aviv of using “starvation” as a weapon of war, amounting to a “war crime.”

Israel has long sought 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.

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