Skip to main content

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarin and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. (Photo: UNRWA)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The US, along with Germany and more than a dozen other countries suspended funding to UNRWA at the end of January following Israeli allegations.

Germany has announced it will resume funding the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza.

The decision comes after an independent investigation led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna found that Israeli authorities had not yet provided sufficient evidence to support its claims that the organization’s employees were involved in the October 7 operation carried out by the Palestinian Resistance in southern Israel.

Colonna’s report made certain recommendations to UNRWA including strengthening its internal audit function and improving external project management oversight.

“In support of these reforms, the German government will soon continue its cooperation with UNRWA in Gaza, as Australia, Canada, Sweden and Japan, among others, have already done,” the German government said in a statement.

“Germany will coordinate closely with its closest international partners on the disbursement of further funds. UNRWA’s short-term financing needs in Gaza are currently covered by existing funds,” it added.

Germany, along with the US and more than a dozen other countries suspended funding to UNRWA at the end of January following Israel’s allegations.

UNRWA, the largest UN organization operating in the region, terminated the contracts of 12 employees as a result of the allegations.

The UN appointed an independent panel to conduct an assessment of UNRWA following the accusations.

US Position Unchanged

The White House said on Tuesday that it would “have to see real progress” before restoring funding to UNRWA.

“In terms of our funding of UNRWA, that is still suspended. We’re gonna have to see real progress here before that gets changed,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said.

Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA Commissioner-General, on Monday welcomed the findings and recommendations of the independent review.

“The report confirms that UNRWA has established – over many years – policies, mechanisms and procedures to ensure compliance with the principle of neutrality,” he said.

“The report confirms that the Agency has systems to address allegations of neutrality breaches, including through disciplinary sanctions.  It also confirms that between 2022 and 2024, the Agency reviewed all external allegations and opened investigations when evidence of misconduct was present.”

‘Highly Political Context’

Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, passed a preliminary reading in February of a bill that prohibits UNRWA from operating in Israel and the occupied West Bank. The bill has to pass three more readings before becoming law.

“The report recognizes the complexity of UNRWA’s mandate within a highly political context,” Lazzarini said. “UNRWA is developing an action plan, with a timeline and budget to take forward the report’s recommendations.”

On Wednesday, UNRWA said it was seeking $1.21 billion “to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and respond to needs in the West Bank as violence increases.”

“The scars of war are seen on a massive scale in Gaza. Meanwhile violence is increasing in the West Bank. It is critical to support UNRWA in providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance and development services in health and education. The past months proved that there is no replacement or alternative to UNRWA,” said Lazzarini.

Over 34,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 34,262 Palestinians have been killed, and 77,229 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli war has resulted in an acute famine, mostly in northern Gaza, resulting in the death of many Palestinians, mostly children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire’.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Leave a Reply