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Israel suffers major blow as Germany resumes funding to UNRWA

April 24, 2024 at 3:51 pm

Palestinians flock to receive flour distributed by The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Gaza, where there is a food crisis due to Israeli attacks on March 03, 2024. [Ashraf Amra – Anadolu Agency]

In a major blow to Israel’s efforts to dismantle the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Germany has announced that it will restore cooperation and funding to the agency’s operations in the Gaza Strip. This decision comes after an independent review, conducted by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, found that Israel had not provided any evidence to support its claims that UNRWA staff took part in the 7 October attack.

Israel’s accusation against UNRWA staff is just one example of the numerous unsubstantiated claims the country has made in an attempt to legitimise its deadly military campaign in Gaza, which has claimed the lives of over 34,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom are women and children.

Germany’s foreign and development ministries issued a joint statement today confirming that Berlin would soon resume cooperation with UNRWA following the publication of the Colonna review on Monday. This move follows similar decisions made by several other major donors, including Australia, Canada, Sweden and Japan, to restore ties with the UN agency.

READ: Absence of evidence: Israel’s case against UNRWA

Israel’s allegations against UNRWA staff in January, which claimed that members of the agency had been involved in planning and carrying out the Hamas attack of 7 October led 19 donor governments to cut millions of dollars in funding to the agency. However, the absence of evidence to support these claims raised questions about the validity of Israel’s accusations and the hasty decisions made by donor countries to suspend aid, even as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsened.

The decision to defund UNRWA based on unverified claims was met with condemnation especially as one of the provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Israel’s genocide case was the free access and delivery of aid.

Israel suffers major blow as Germany resumes funding to UNRWA

Israel suffers major blow as Germany resumes funding to UNRWA

This revelation adds to the growing list of disinformation spread by Israel over the past six months, casting doubt on the credibility of its statements regarding the conflict in Gaza and its attempts to undermine UNRWA’s work. Israel’s claims about 7 October atrocities carried out by Hamas have also come under scrutiny. With no evidence of beheaded babies and systematic rape, it’s widely recognised that Israel falsified atrocities in order to justify its military campaign in Gaza.

The Colonna report, commissioned by the UN, found that UNRWA had regularly supplied Israel with lists of its employees for vetting and that “the Israeli government has not informed UNRWA of any concerns relating to any UNRWA staff based on these staff lists since 2011.”

Germany’s decision to resume funding to UNRWA is a significant development, as the agency relies heavily on international support to provide essential services to Palestinian refugees.

The UK, which provided £35 million ($43 million) to UNRWA last financial year, has said it will await the publication of the Colonna report before deciding on resuming funding. The US, previously the agency’s biggest donor, has had its financial support blocked by Congress for at least a year in the wake of Israel’s allegations.

READ: Norway calls on donors to resume funding to Palestinian UNRWA agency