US suspends support for UN Palestinian agency over supposed Hamas links

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UNRWA Dismisses Staff Involved in Militant Attacks on Israel

UNRWA or the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees reportedly terminated the employment of several of its Gaza staff members after being implicated in a violent assault in southern Israel on October 7. This incident caused the United States, the largest benefactor of the agency, to suspend its funding temporarily. Despite the critical need for aid in the Gaza region due to the humanitarian crisis arising from the Israeli offensive against Hamas, UNRWA has not clarified the potential effect of this funding halt on their operations.

UNRWA’s Stance and Response

UNRWA’s chief, Philippe Lazzarini, mentioned the suspension contracts of “several” employees while initiating investigations as Israel alleged their involvement in the attack. Lazzarini stated that any involved employees in acts of terror would be held accountable, even through criminal proceedings. Details regarding the employees’ suspected roles were not provided.

UNRWA’s Condemnation of the Attacks

UNRWA issued a strong condemnation of the assault on October 7, further calling for the immediate release of any Israeli hostages. Amid the war, statistics from the Health Ministry in Gaza indicate more than 26,000 Palestinian fatalities, including children and women, and over 64,400 individuals sustaining injuries. A great number of the victims are UNRWA employees.

Economic Crisis in Gaza

Due to the Israeli control of entry in Gaza, virtually all residents depend on small amounts of international aid. UN officers estimate around a quarter of Gaza’s population now face hunger. In response to the allegations against UNRWA staff, the U.S. State Department has paused additional funding, a deduction from the $340 million in 2022 and millions more to expect in 2023.

Criticism Against UNRWA

UNRWA has often faced accusations of fostering anti-Israel sentiments and collaborating with Hamas, leading to suspension of funding by the Trump administration in 2018 before reinstatement by Joe Biden’s presidency. Supporters of UNRWA argue these allegations are politically motivated and aim to overshadow the persistent refugee issue.

Palestinian Exodus in Khan Younis

As intensifying conflicts between Hamas militants and Israeli troops occur in Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza, thousands of local Palestinians are fleeing. There were orders from the Israeli military for the evacuation of three neighborhoods and a refugee camp in the city, citing intense urban combat.

The UN Calls for Humanitarian Intervention

In response to the escalating violence, the United Nations’ International Court of Justice ordered Israel to prevent further death, destruction, or acts of genocide in Gaza. South Africa has accused Israel of genocide in their offensives, a claim vehemently denied by Israel. Despite allegations, the court refrained from instructing to cease the military offensive.

Supply Issues Following Attacks

Humanitarian aid groups are grappling to transport food, medicines, and other supplies to northern Gaza, the initial target point of Israel’s ground invasion. As reported by a 23-year-old Gaza City native, Uday Samir, fundamental food items like flour, lentils, and rice are nearly impossible to find in the city due to ongoing violence and access restrictions imposed by Israel.

News come from a source of Reader Wall, delivering the most recent developments of the situation between Israel, Palestine, Hamas, and related involvement of UNRWA.

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