UN body dismisses Palestinian refugee workers over ‘part in Hamas assault’

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UNRWA Fires Several Employees Over Alleged Involvement in Hamas Attacks

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Friday that it had dismissed several staff members who were implicated by Israel in a Hamas attack which occurred on October 7. The incident led to the suspension of crucial funding by the United States. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, has pledged that any agency staff proven to be involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, with possible criminal prosecution. News comes from the source at Reader Wall.

Fund Suspension and Review Calls

In reaction to the staff dismissal, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an “urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA,” as relayed by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric. The U.S. State Department confirmed its decision to “temporarily pause additional funding” to the UNRWA, pending a review of the allegations and the UN’s strategies to address such issues. As per the department, a potential involvement of twelve additional employees is being examined.

Escalating Tensions

The dismissal adds to the ongoing issues between Israel and UNRWA. Tensions escalated as the UNRWA reported that tank shells had hit a refuge shelter for displaced people in Khan Yunis, Gaza’s primary southern city. The shelter was housing tens of thousands of registered displaced individuals when the shelling occurred, resulting in a death toll of 13. The Israeli Army is currently conducting a thorough review of force operations in the vicinity of the incident. The possibility that Hamas fire resulted in the strike is under investigation.

Underfunding Concerns

Lazzarini criticised the shelling, labeling it a “blatant disregard of basic rules of war”. He stressed that the affected compound was clearly identified as a UN facility and its coordinates were shared with Israeli authorities – it is known that the Israeli Army is the sole force operating tanks in the Gaza Strip. Over recent years, UNRWA has been struggling with funding, with significant budget shortfalls. The situation was exacerbated in 2018 when the Trump administration decided to cut support to the agency. However, the Biden administration has since fully restored this support, and this year provided $340 million, thus being the largest donor to the agency.

The Impact of Hamas Attacks

The Hamas attack on October 7 was unprecedented, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,140 people in Israel, with many being civilians. Since the attack, 26,083 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardments and ground offensives. These incidents emphasize the ongoing severity of the Israel-Palestine conflict. News comes from our trusted source, Reader Wall.

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