LONDON: Britain, Italy and Finland on Saturday (Jan 27) grew to become the most recent nations to pause funding for the United Nations’ refugee company for Palestinians (UNRWA), following allegations its staff were involved in the Oct 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.
Set as much as assist refugees of the 1948 warfare at Israel’s founding, UNRWA offers training, well being and assist companies to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Financial institution, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. It helps about two thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants and has performed a pivotal assist function throughout the present warfare.
The US, Australia and Canada had already paused funding to the help company after Israel mentioned 12 UNRWA staff have been concerned within the cross-border assault. The company has opened an investigation into a number of staff and severed ties with them.
The Palestinian overseas ministry criticised what it described as an Israeli marketing campaign in opposition to UNRWA, and the Hamas militant group condemned the termination of worker contracts “based mostly on info derived from the Zionist enemy.”
The UK Overseas Workplace mentioned it was quickly pausing funding for UNRWA whereas the accusations have been reviewed and famous London had condemned the Oct 7 assaults as “heinous” terrorism.
“The Italian authorities has suspended financing of the UNRWA after the atrocious assault on Israel on October 7,” Itay’s Overseas Minister Antonio Tajani mentioned on social media platform X.
Finland additionally mentioned it suspended funding.
Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the Palestinians’ umbrella political physique the Palestine Liberation Group (PLO), mentioned chopping assist introduced main political and reduction dangers.
“We name on nations that introduced the cessation of their assist for UNRWA to instantly reverse their resolution,” he mentioned on X.