Australia, Italy and others cut money to U.N. agency over claim personnel complicit in Hamas attack on Israel

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Following charges made by Israel that many members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were involved in the attack that took place on October 7, several important donor countries to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees joined the United States in announcing on Saturday that they would stop providing financing to the agency.

On Friday, the United States Department of State announced that they had stopped making funding to the group.

The United States pointed out that “UNRWA plays a critical role in providing lifesaving assistance to Palestinians, including essential food, medicine, shelter, and other vital humanitarian support.” UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) that provides assistance to Palestinians.

In response to charges made by Israel that some of its employees were involved in the attack carried out by Hamas on October 7, the organization said that it has begun an investigation into the matter.

According to Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the State Department, twelve employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have been suspected of participating.

Additionally, on Friday, the Minister of International Development of Canada, Ahmed Hussen, made the announcement that the federal government has “temporarily paused any additional funding to UNRWA while it undertakes a thorough investigation into these allegations.”

U.N. agency over claim personnel complicit in Hamas attack
In Gaza City, Palestinians enter a UNWRA shelter school. Key donors have halted U.N. agency funding after a claim personnel participated in Hamas strikes against Israel. (Image Credit: CBS)

After Israel’s accusations, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) responded by stating that it had terminated many employees and promised to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the allegations, which were not defined. Meanwhile, Israel pledged to cease the agency’s operations in Gaza after the war.

According to the top spokesperson for the United Nations, Stéphane Dujarric, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was updated on the situation by Lazzarini. Guterres was “horrified by this news and has asked Mr. Lazzarini to investigate this matter swiftly.”

In response to the claims, the following statements have been made by the countries who have reduced their funding:

It was revealed late on Saturday night that Germany would be discontinuing assistance to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

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Penny Wong, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, stated on Saturday that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is performing “vital, life-saving work,” but that Brisbane will “temporarily pause disbursement of recent funding.”

“Switzerland has zero tolerance for all forms of support for terrorism, and for calls to hatred or incitement to violence,” the statement stated.

A halt on financing for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) was declared by the Dutch Minister for Trade and Development, Geoffrey van Leeuwen, while the probe is still ongoing. He stated that the government was “extremely shocked.”

In an interview with the national broadcaster NOS on Saturday, he stated, “The accusation is that the attack was committed on October 7 with UN money, in other words, with our money.”

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The British government has stated that it is “appalled by the allegations” that Israel has made, and that it will “temporarily pausing any future funding” while the Foreign Office investigates the allegations.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works organization (UNRWA), has made a commitment to hold “accountable, including through criminal prosecution” any employee of the organization who is discovered to have been involved in “acts of terror.”

Additionally, on Friday, the Minister of International Development of Canada, Ahmed Hussen, made the announcement that the federal government has “temporarily paused any additional funding to UNRWA while it undertakes a thorough investigation into these allegations.”

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