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UN chief reiterates commitment to delivering aid to Gaza

June 14, 2024 at 2:55 pm

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Geneva on February 26, 2024 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to delivering humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza despite obstacles. He stressed the UN’s steadfast support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which forms the backbone of this assistance.

According to the United Nations Media Centre, Guterres stated that it remains “extremely difficult to support the population that is under fire; it’s extremely difficult to support the population when there are so many restrictions to the entry of the necessary supplies for humanitarian aid”, especially amid a long-running misinformation campaign to discredit the UN agency.

The UN chief highlighted the immense scale of destruction and death caused by the ongoing Israeli hostilities against the population of Gaza and the West Bank over the past eight months.

Israel has accused UN employees in Gaza of carrying out attacks against it, in claims it has been unable to prove and which donor countries have now repudiated. The claims form part of its efforts to discredit them, 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: UNRWA: 330,000 tons of waste piled up in residential areas of Gaza