Japan, Estonia suspend UNRWA funding amid arbitrary Israeli claims


Japan’s Foreign Ministry calls for an investigation and measures to be taken against the accused members after which UNRWA could restore its role in full function.

  • United Nations and Red Crescent workers prepare the aid for distribution to Palestinians at the UNRWA warehouse in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, on Monday, Oct. 23, 2023 (AP)

Japan and Estonia have joined the list of countries defunding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after “Israel” accused a number of its members of participating in Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. 

This brings the total number of countries cutting UNRWA and Palestinians by extension off to 13. 

The Japanese Foreign Ministry officiated the action in a statement on Sunday, saying, “Japan is extremely concerned about the alleged involvement of UNRWA staff members in the terror attack on Israel on October 7 last year. In response, Japan has decided to suspend additional funding to UNRWA for the time being while UNRWA conducts an investigation into the matter and considers measures to address the allegations.” 

Japan also called for an investigation that would adequately prosecute the accused individuals, claiming that once that is done, funding would be restored and the organization could go back to fulfilling its role. 

Japan, though gravely worsening the crisis in Gaza through defunding the agency that provides relief for 2.2 million Palestinians, has guaranteed that its diplomatic efforts to mitigate the humanitarian crisis are ongoing. 

According to UNRWA, Japan put 7 million dollars toward Gaza relief on October 24.

Following in the footsteps of countries defunding the organization over allegations made by “Israel” without providing any proof, Estonia’s Foreign Minister, Marcus Tsahkna, revealed the country’s decision through a post on X, saying, “Concerning the recent very serious allegations against UNRWA, Estonia will not continue with the funding of the organization. I call for a quick and in-depth investigation of these allegations.”

Read more: Norway to stand by UNRWA amid false Israeli claims

Turkey, Iran stand by Gaza and UNRWA 

Earlier on Sunday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed concern about the decisions made by a dozen donors of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA, to suspend funding.

“Working under very difficult conditions, UNRWA meets the vital needs of millions of Palestine refugees … The suspension of funding to UNRWA, following allegations against a few UNRWA staff, will primarily harm the Palestinian people,” it said in a statement.

Spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani later condemned Israeli accusations leveled against UNRWA staffers, stating that these charges were part of a broader scheme of Zionist efforts aimed at stifling NGO activities in the Gaza Strip.

He further said that the accusations are intended to absolve the regime from the killing of more than 150 NGO employees.

The decision to suspend UNRWA’s funding by the countries is deemed regrettable, Kanaani said, while also viewing it as an endorsement of Zionist war crimes that have been substantiated at the ICJ with charges of genocide.

Read more: UN officials slam countries defunding UNRWA, punishing Gaza





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