Saturday, May 25, 2024

Israeli officials admit campaign to kill UNRWA funding has failed: Report

Haaretz newspaper reports that the Israeli government has admitted defeat in its efforts to keep international funding away from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

This news comes after Germany announced today that it would restore its funding to the agency, which it froze in January amid allegations by Israel that UNRWA staff had participated in the October 7 attacks on Israel. This week, a report from Catherine Colonna, former French foreign minister, discredited the Israeli allegations.

“Political sources in Israel have acknowledged in talks with foreign diplomats in recent days that Jerusalem had not succeeded in influencing the report in the way it had hoped,” Haaretz daily reported.

“An Israeli source involved in the diplomatic effort to halt funding to UNRWA told Haaretz that the failure was not in the field of public relations and communications, but rather stemmed from the lack of a convincing alternative to UNRWA,” it added.

Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, has told Al Jazeera that Israel’s campaign to discredit and defund the organisation had led to it facing an “unprecedented” crisis.

UNRWA plays a vital role in distributing desperately needed aid inside Gaza, where thousands are facing famine.

UNRWA has been hindered from doing its job since January, when Israel accused a handful of its thousands of employees of being involved in the Hamas attacks on Israel.

Amid a probe of the claims, several countries have cut off funding to the agency, and its aid work for Gaza’s famine-stricken population has suffered.

At least 18 countries initially suspended funding to the agency amid the allegations.

UNRWA was created by the UN General Assembly more than 70 years ago to assist Palestinians who were forcibly displaced from their land.

The agency provides crucial support to millions of Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other areas where large numbers of registered Palestinians live.

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