Amman, 29 January 2024(TDI): As per recent developments, Ayman Al-Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, has underscored the vital importance of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), following recent fund suspensions.
He urges countries that have suspended funds to reconsider their decision. Additionally, he emphasizes that UNRWA plays an essential role in providing humanitarian aid to more than two million Palestinians who are experiencing a crisis due to Israel’s aggression on Gaza.
In a phone call to the Agency’s Commissioner General, Philippe Lazzarini, this morning, Al-Safadi emphasized the need for the global community to continue providing necessary assistance to the agency to sustain its programs in Gaza.
Role of UNRWA
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) is an international organization that engages thousands of workers to deliver vital assistance and support to millions of citizens throughout the region of the Middle East.
During the Israel-Hamas conflict, UNRWA provided residents of Gaza with food, water, and shelter while also managing schools, medical centers, development activities, and humanitarian aid programs.
Also, it has 13,000 employees in Gaza alone, and nearly all of them are Palestinians. More than one million individuals seek refuge in UNRWA schools and other sites in Gaza, and around 2.3 million residents of Palestinian territory have left their homes for security reasons.
Israel’s allegations and global fund implications
Israel claims that 12 workers of a United Nations organization were involved in Hamas’ October 7 attack, leading many Western countries to suspend funding and reigniting debates about Gaza’s largest assistance supplier.
In this recent development, UNRWA rejects accusations and claims it takes immediate action against employees suspected of participating in the incident.
The United States and eight Western countries, which funded over half of UNRWA’s 2022 budget, have stopped supporting the agency, while Jordan seeks global help after UNRWA fund suspensions.
Israel criticizes the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for refusing to address its support of Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since 2007.
Hamas diverts aid intended for Palestinians, attacks UN institutions, discloses tunnels near UNRWA sites, and fosters an alleged anti-Israel attitude in its educational institutions.
In response, UNRWA denies allegations of collaboration with Hamas or other militant organizations. It claims to have no such linkages, conducts thorough investigations, holds employees responsible, and provides lists of workers to Israel and other countries where it operates.
In recent reports, Ayman Safadi indicated that UNRWA is the lifeline for nearly 2 million Palestinians facing famine in Gaza.
UNRWA should not face collective punishment for claims against 12 of its 13,000 employees. The organization acted appropriately, initiated the investigation, and urges countries that have suspended funds to reconsider their decision, said Ayman Safadi.