EU Foreign Policy Chief Warns of Increased Humanitarian Catastrophe in Gaza Amid UNRWA Funding Crisis



In light of recent allegations of involvement in terrorist activities by some of its staff, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is facing a crisis as key donors, including several EU member states, have suspended funding. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Joseph Borrell, emphasized the potential for a greater humanitarian disaster in Gaza if support for UNRWA ceases. Amidst the ongoing conflict, the agency plays a crucial role in assisting Palestinian refugees. Despite the controversy, some countries have either maintained or increased their contributions, highlighting the complex dynamics at play.

  • The EU’s foreign policy chief warns of a greater humanitarian disaster if support for UNRWA ends.
  • Allegations have arisen that several UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7th terrorist attacks, leading to a suspension of aid from some Western donors.
  • UNRWA, established in 1949, provides aid and protection to Palestinian refugees across several regions including Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
  • Major donors, including Germany, have temporarily halted payments to UNRWA, with the EU set to decide on further funding later in the month.
  • Member states are divided in their response; while the Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden have frozen funds, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain have either continued their support or increased contributions.
  • Israel criticizes UNRWA, alleging infiltration by Hamas, and suggests that aid should be delivered through alternative means.
  • UN experts argue that no other organization can match UNRWA’s capacity and knowledge of the needs of the Palestinian population in Gaza.
  • UNRWA has dismissed 10 employees amid the crisis and an independent review of the agency is expected to deliver its first results in March.
  • Despite the funding challenges, UNRWA states it urgently needs funds to continue providing lifesaving support to Palestinian refugees.

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