‘Hamas-infested’ UNRWA is ‘tainted with terrorism’: Hillel Neuer
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer unpacks his perspective on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency amid allegations of terror ties against agency employees.
The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) revealed Thursday that the organization will likely shut down operations by the “end of February” if funding does not resume.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini wrote in a post on X that “a number of donor countries suspended US$ 440 million worth of funding” for the group following allegations from Israel that some of its members were involved in Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack that launched the war in Gaza.
“If funding remains suspended, we will most likely be forced to shut down our operations by end of February not only in Gaza but also across the region,” Lazzarini said.
“At the time the International Court of Justice calls for more humanitarian assistance, it is the time to reinforce not to weaken UNRWA,” he added. “We are the largest aid organization in one of the most severe and complex humanitarian crises in the world.”
US TAXPAYERS HAVE FUNDED UNRWA BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AMID CALLS FOR ITS SCRAPPING
A Hamas supporter holds a placard during a protest demanding that staff who were fired in the Gaza Strip over allegations that they took part in the Oct. 7, attack on southern Israel be returned to their jobs and that countries resume funding of the agency, in front of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency headquarters in Beirut on Tuesday, Jan. 30. (AP/Bilal Hussein)
The agency said in its own statement that “When presented with serious allegations by Israeli authorities that some UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October abhorrent attacks on Israel, UNRWA Commissioner-General took the decision to immediately terminate the appointment of these staff in the interest of the Agency and seized the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services in New York, which launched an investigation.”
“Full accountability and transparency are expected out of this process, should the allegations be substantiated,” it declared.
TOP BIDEN OFFICIAL FACES PUBLIC STAFF REVOLT OVER ‘US-FUNDED GENOCIDE’ IN GAZA
Palestinians try to extinguish a fire at a building of a UNRWA vocational training center which displaced people use as a shelter, after being targeted by an Israeli tank in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Jan. 24. (AP/Ramez Habboub)
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on member countries earlier this week to resume their funding to UNRWA.
“While I understand their concerns – I was myself horrified by these accusations – I strongly appeal to the governments that have suspended their contributions to, at least, guarantee the continuity of UNRWA’s operations,” Guterres said in a statement on Sunday.
An Israeli soldier carries a tank shell at a staging area in southern Israel, near the Gaza border, on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. (AP/Tsafrir Abayov)
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“The abhorrent alleged acts of these staff members must have consequences. But the tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many in some of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be penalized. The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met,” Guterres said.
Fox News’ Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.
Greg Norman is a reporter at Fox News Digital.