Title: Western Countries Halt Support to UNRWA Amidst Allegations; Palestinians Demand Reversal
Several Western countries, including Italy, Australia, US, UK, Finland, and the Netherlands, have suspended their support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) following accusations of staff involvement in a Hamas attack on October 7. This decision has drawn criticism from top Palestinian officials and Hamas, who are calling for an immediate reversal, stating that it poses a significant risk.
The United Kingdom and the United States have temporarily halted future financial aid to UNRWA, expressing their concerns over the allegations made against the agency’s staff. Italy’s Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, declared that his country is also cutting support for UNRWA, with other allied nations taking a similar stance.
Similarly, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, has temporarily suspended the disbursement of recent funding to UNRWA. Wong has welcomed the agency’s response of terminating contracts and launching an investigation. In concurrence, the Netherlands has also announced a freeze in funding for UNRWA, expressing shock over the allegations and supporting the ongoing investigation.
Israel, on the other hand, has praised the countries for halting support to UNRWA. The government aims to completely halt the agency’s operations once the conflict in Gaza concludes. Meanwhile, Canada has temporarily paused additional funding to UNRWA and initiated a thorough investigation into the allegations.
The United States halted funding to UNRWA due to the allegations against 12 employees who may have been involved in the Hamas attack. As a response, UN chief Antonio Guterres has pledged to carry out an urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA.
Amidst these developments, the situation on the ground in Gaza remains dire. Since the outbreak of hostilities on October 7, at least 26,257 people have been killed, and 64,797 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza. The conflict continues to escalate, demanding urgent international attention and resolution.
In conclusion, the decision by several Western countries to halt support to UNRWA in light of allegations against its staff has sparked controversy and calls for immediate reconsideration from Palestinian authorities and Hamas. As the international community grapples with this issue, the dire situation in Gaza intensifies, necessitating urgent action to protect civilian lives and bring an end to the ongoing conflict.
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