UNRWA says it could shut down by end of February if funding 'remains suspended'

 The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) revealed on Thursday that the organization will cease operations by "the end of February" if funding is not resumed.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini wrote in a post on Twitter that following Israel's allegations that some of its members were involved in Hamas' October 7 terrorist attack, "several donor countries suspended US$440 million of funding for the group. Did it". Who started the war in Gaza.

"If funding remains suspended, we will be forced to cease our operations not only in Gaza but in the entire region by the end of February," Lazzarini said.

"At a time when the International Court of Justice calls for more humanitarian assistance, it is time to strengthen, not weaken, UNRWA," he said. “We are the largest aid organization in one of the world's most serious and complex humanitarian crises.”

The agency said in its statement that "When serious allegations were made by the Israeli authorities that some UNRWA staff were involved in the despicable attacks on Israel on 7 October, the UNRWA Commissioner-General has decided in the interest of the public to immediately terminate the appointment of these staff." took." of the agency and the office of the United Nations Internal Oversight Services in New York, which launched an investigation."

It declared, "This process is expected to provide full accountability and transparency should the allegations be substantiated."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this week called on member states to resume their funding to UNRWA.

"While I understand their concerns – I myself was horrified by these allegations – I strongly appeal to the governments that have committed their crimes to at least guarantee the continuity of UNRWA's operations," Guterres said in a statement on Sunday. Contributions have been suspended.

“There must be consequences for the despicable alleged actions of these staff members. But the thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many of whom are in some of the most dangerous conditions for humanitarian workers, must not be punished. The needs of the populations they serve must be met,” Guterres said.

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