UNRWA Funding Boycott

Another Country Joins the Boycott: France TemporarilySuspends Funding to UNRWA 

The French government announced that it will temporarily freeze UNRWA's funding, after it was revealed that some of the organization's employees took part in the October 7 massacre. This is the tenth country to announce the suspension of aid to the organization in Gaza.

Palestinians protest demanding compensation for damaged homes in the 2014 war, outside the headquarters of "UNRWA", in Gaza City, on September 5, 2022. (Photo: Attia Muhammed, Flash90)

The French government announced today (Sunday) that it will temporarily suspend funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, following suspicions that some of the organization's employees participated in the October 7th massacre.

According to the French statement, funding will be halted for the first three months of 2024, after which a renewed discussion on the matter will take place. With this decision, France joins nine other countries that have recently declared the freezing of funds to UNRWA, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Italy, Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland.

As reported last weekend, Israel provided evidence to the UNRWA General Commissioner regarding 12 employees of the agency who were involved in the October 7 massacre. In response, the General Commissioner of the organization, Filippo Grandi, terminated the contracts of the employees and ordered an investigation. Following the exposure, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced an immediate investigation into the incident and initiated a comprehensive examination of UNRWA's activities in Gaza.

A general strike by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Balata camp, in the West Bank city of Nablus, on January 24, 2023. (Photo: Nasser Ishtayeh, Flash90)

This morning, Guterres stated that the UN is investigating allegations that UNRWA employees participated in the October 7 massacre. He claimed that "nine out of 12 suspected UNRWA employees have been dismissed, one is dead, and the fate of the other two is unknown. The UN will punish anyone involved in terror, including initiating criminal proceedings."

Palestinians protest demanding compensation for damaged homes in the 2014 war, outside the headquarters of "UNRWA", in Gaza City, on September 5, 2022. (Photo: Attia Muhammed, Flash90)

However, Guterres called on countries worldwide to continue funding the organization. He stated, "Tens of thousands of men and women working for UNRWA, dealing with the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be punished. Daily needs for the population must be met," he argued. "Although I understand the concerns and am personally disgusted by the accusations, I urge governments that suspended funding to reconsider and at least ensure the continuation of UNRWA's operations."

Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, responded, "The UN Secretary-General proves once again that the lives and security of Israeli civilians do not truly matter to him. After years in which he ignored evidence presented to him personally about UNRWA's support and involvement in incitement and terror, and before conducting a comprehensive investigation to identify all Hamas terrorists in UNRWA, he focuses on recruiting donations for the murder and terror organization."

"Any country that continues to fund UNRWA before a comprehensive investigation into the organization, and demanding a deep examination that targets all the organization's employees, supports terrorism, and the aid transferred to UNRWA may reach Hamas terrorists instead of the population in Gaza," Erdan clarified. "I call on all contributing countries to freeze their support and demand a thorough investigation that will expose all UNRWA workers involved."

Palestinians protest demanding compensation for damaged homes in the 2014 war, outside the headquarters of "UNRWA", in Gaza City, on September 5, 2022. (Photo: Attia Muhammed, Flash90)

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