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UN closes 5 cases of Israel’s claims of UNRWA involvement in Hamas attacks

April 28, 2024 at 9:22 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]

The United Nations has closed five cases of allegations that its relief workers were involved in Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israeli-held territory, amid a notable lack of evidence given by Israel despite its claims.

In January this year, Israel accused employees of the UN’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza of having participated in Hamas’s 7 October operation, further attempting to defame and discredit the vital aid relief agency at a time it has been most needed in the besieged strip.

According to Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General, the internal investigation into over 12 UNRWA relief workers by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has decided to close five of their cases.

Read: Israel slams Germany’s decision to restart funding of UNRWA

One person was cleared “as no evidence was provided by Israel to support the allegations”, while investigations into three cases were suspended due to insufficient evidence provided by Israel, and another “has also been suspended pending receipt of additional supporting evidence” to be re-examined during a UN team’s visit to the country in May. The remaining cases “are currently under investigation”, he said.

Tel Aviv’s allegations of the UNRWA employees’ involvement in the Hamas attacks caused significant damage to the agency’s funding and reputation, resulting in numerous Western states withdrawing support and funds from the UN relief organisation, which has the most extensive ground presence in Gaza to provide relief to its population throughout the ongoing Israeli siege and military offensive.

Since then, however, there has been a significant lack of credible evidence linking the accused UNRWA employees with Hamas and its operation, and even less evidence supporting accusations of the agency’s links with the Palestinian resistance group. Israel’s inconsistencies have led some of the departed countries to restore funding for UNRWA.

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