UNRWA to be underfunded by $65 million, over 30,000 workers unpaid

Germany, Japan, and Sweden also won’t pay their part in February for a total worth of $60 million, per the NYT.

  • Palestinians demonstrate in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip calling for continued international support to UNRWA, on January 30, 2024. (AFP)

According to The New York Times, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is due to be underfunded by a whopping $65 million by the end of this month as a result of the suspension of payments by many countries following unfounded Israeli accusations that its staff has links to Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas. 

On Monday, the NYT cited UNRWA’s internal accounting documents, saying that UNRWA receives several payments a year, and some countries had already skipped on their parts – among them Finland, who missed a payment worth $5.4 million in January.

Germany, Japan, and Sweden also won’t pay their part in February for a total worth of $60 million, per the NYT.

Read next: Sayyed al-Houthi: Cutting UNRWA funds is US response to ICJ ruling

Tamara Alrifai, a spokesperson for UNRWA, was quoted as saying that over 30,000 workers across the Middle East next month will not receive their salaries, including 13,000 currently located in Gaza.

A statement last week from heads of organizations that form the UN Inter-Agency Standing Committee said, “Withdrawing funds from UNRWA is perilous and would result in the collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza, with far-reaching humanitarian and human rights consequences in the occupied Palestinian territory and across the region.” 

Western villainy at play

This comes a day after UNRWA’s Commissioner General, Philippe Lazzarini, said during an interview for the Financial Times that “Israel” has not furnished evidence to support its accusations that approximately 12 UNRWA staff members were implicated in Operation Al-Aqsa Flood on October 7. 

Western donors decided to cut funding for the UNRWA aid organization after “Israel” raised unfounded allegations of collaboration of 12 of the organization’s staffers with the Resistance. 

The United States and Canada were the first to lead the move, and Finland, Australia, Britain, and Italy followed suit.

Despite the lack of evidence to support such claims, France, Japan, and Estonia likewise followed suit.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine, Francesca Albanese, wrote in a post on X that the suspension of UNRWA funding came the day after the ICJ’s decision concluding that “Israel” is plausibly committing genocide in the Gaza Strip.

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

Albanese stated that the countries that suspended their funding for the UN agency “collectively punishing millions of Palestinians at the most critical time, and most likely violating their obligations under the Genocide Convention.”

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