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Israel decries EU decision to continue funding UNRWA

Israel will soon share evidence of the 'massive presence of Hamas officials' within UNRWA

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza City (Photo: Shutterstock)

The European Union announced its decision on Friday to allocate 50 million Euros to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), before the completion of the UN Commission of Inquiry's investigation into the agency’s role in the Oct. 7 massacre.

The European Commission “will proceed to disburse a first tranche of EUR 50 million out of the EUR 82 million foreseen for UNRWA for 2024," stated the press release.

Israel said that the EU decision was “unfortunate” and sent a strong negative signal.

“The European Commission’s decision to allocate 50 million Euros to UNRWA before the UN commissions of inquiry have completed their work and submitted their conclusions and recommendations is an unfortunate decision that legitimizes the involvement of UNRWA employees in terrorist activities and cooperation with Hamas,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Lior Haiat on Tuesday.

Israel will soon reportedly share evidence of the “massive presence of Hamas officials” within UNRWA, according to the statement.

“The information regarding involvement of UNRWA employees in the October 7 massacre, the massive presence of Hamas officials in the organization, including in management positions, and the extensive use made of the agency's assets for terrorist purposes accumulates and expands on a daily basis and leaves no room for doubt regarding the close connection between UNRWA, its employees and the Hamas terrorist organization. In the coming weeks, Israel will present all the information in its possession to the sponsoring countries and to the UN commissions of inquiry.”

Israel also called on the EU to cease its contributions, as several Western governments have done, pending the results of the report.

“Israel calls on the European Commission and other donor countries to cease contributions to UNRWA. Israel is obligated to deliver humanitarian aid to the population in Gaza and is working with other UN agencies and other entities to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.”

While the EU originally announced it would review the issue of aid to UNRWA “in light of the outcome of the investigation announced by the UN,” it reversed course in early February, saying that it had not decided to stop funding the organization altogether.

“The last meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council saw a wide recognition that UNRWA is an irreplaceable supplier of lifesaving aid to the Palestinians. While some important donors and some EU member states have indeed suspended their financial contributions, the issue has been accompanied by misunderstandings and disinformation. In fact, neither the European Commission, nor Germany or France have decided to end their contributions,” EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell wrote on Feb. 4.

“While the emotions prompting suspensions of funding are understandable, political responsibility has to look beyond emotions and consider the consequences of such a step. Defunding UNRWA would be both disproportionate and dangerous… In Gaza alone, 13,000 local staff, who are themselves victims of the ongoing humanitarian tragedy, are playing a critical role in distributing food, water, and medicine to 1.1 million people suffering from catastrophic hunger and the outbreak of diseases.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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