U.N. Pleads With Major Donors to Not Cut Aid for Palestinians

U.N. Pleads With Major Donors to Not Cut Aid for Palestinians


The U.N. company that gives assist to Palestinians has been a significant lifeline within the Gaza Strip for generations — and it was some extent of competition with Israel lengthy earlier than a few of the company’s workers have been accused of involvement within the Hamas-led Oct. 7 assault on Israel.

The allegation, made by Israel, is a severe blow to the popularity of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, commonly known as UNRWA. The declare was acted on by each the United Nations, which mentioned on Friday that it had fired the accused employees and was investigating, and the United States, which mentioned it was suspending some funding for the company.

Here’s a more in-depth have a look at the group and its work.

What does UNRWA do?

UNRWA supplies an array of social providers for folks registered as Palestinian refugees within the wars surrounding the formation of Israel, and for his or her descendants in Gaza, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

The company looms particularly massive in Gaza, the place a lot of the inhabitants of greater than two million persons are registered as refugees. Gaza has been beneath a longstanding Israeli blockade, and Hamas — thought-about a terrorist group by a lot of the world — wields management. No nation’s authorities takes even partial accountability for governing the territory, and the Palestinian Authority, which workout routines restricted powers within the West Bank, was successfully expelled from Gaza in a 2007 energy wrestle with Hamas.

UNRWA builds and operates faculties, medical clinics, shelters and playgrounds all through the territory. It supplies meals, housing help and emergency loans and even oversees some rubbish assortment. It is likely one of the largest employers in Gaza, with 13,000 employees, most of them Palestinian, a rarity in an enclave the place almost half of adults are unemployed.

“Essentially, for the previous few many years we now have been working a parallel authorities in Gaza,” Hector Sharp, the pinnacle of the company’s authorized workplace, mentioned in an October interview.

What are the allegations in opposition to UNRWA?

It’s not solely clear.

U.N. and American officers referred to claims that some UNRWA workers could have been “concerned in” the Oct. 7 assaults, however didn’t elaborate on that involvement or say whether or not it included any of the worst atrocities dedicated that day.

The State Department referred to 12 workers being accused and fired — UNRWA didn’t supply a quantity — however it’s unclear what sort of work they did or how senior they have been. It additionally stays to be seen whether or not investigations will yield extra such allegations.

What is UNRWA’s relationship with Israel?

Israel has lengthy accused UNRWA of working in collusion with Hamas, serving to it indoctrinate Gazans with anti-Israel propaganda, and turning a blind eye to Hamas militants firing rockets at Israel and working an enormous tunnel community within the territory.

Hamas oversees what little civilian public administration exists in Gaza, so folks and businesses beneath its management inevitably work together with the company, however the extent and nature of that cooperation has been the topic of many competing claims.

Israel additionally objects to labeling these born outdoors of Israel as refugees.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has gone as far as guilty the company for perpetuating moderately than assuaging the plight of Palestinians and has known as on the United Nations to disband it.

Israeli officers have lengthy charged that Arab nations “need the Palestinian refugee drawback to stay unresolved, in order that there’s a relentless reminder of the Palestinian tragedy,” mentioned Ahron Bregman, a senior educating fellow at King’s College London who specializes within the Arab-Israeli battle. “UNRWA, because the Israelis see it, is a software to maintain the Palestinian refugee drawback unresolved.”

But some consultants say that regardless of the hostile public remarks, Israel, which occupied Gaza from 1967 to 2005, has wanted the company to offer stability there. “Behind the scenes Israel has typically favored UNRWA’s work,” mentioned Anne Irfan, an skilled on Palestinian refugee rights at University College London.

Why was UNRWA arrange?

UNRWA was established in 1949 to help some 700,000 Palestinians who fled or have been expelled from Israel throughout the wars surrounding its creation and have been prohibited by Israel from returning.

Many settled in refugee camps that the company helped create, which have since turn out to be built-up, principally impoverished city areas.

Palestinians are the one refugee group whose help will not be dealt with beneath the worldwide mandate of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

UNRWA is funded nearly solely by voluntary donations by U.N. member states, with the United States and European Union nations offering a lot of the financing.

The company, which has mentioned it was wanting funds even earlier than the present conflict started, has appealed for a serious infusion of cash to deal with the extra want.

What has UNRWA’s function been throughout this conflict?

Since Israel started its bombing marketing campaign and floor invasion in retaliation for the Oct. 7 assault, UNRWA has taken major accountability for attempting to shelter Gazans displaced from their properties — now almost 90 % of the inhabitants.

The company has transformed its faculties, clinics and workplaces into emergency shelters which have turn out to be badly overcrowded, and has additionally arrange sprawling tent camps. It has additionally been closely concerned in distributing deliveries of badly wanted meals, water and medication.

It has additionally shared the struggling of individuals in Gaza, the place the well being ministry says greater than 25,000 folks have been killed within the conflict. The company says that 152 of its workers are among the many dead and that 141 of its amenities have been broken or destroyed.

Megan Specia and Ben Hubbard contributed reporting.




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