He UN Secretary GeneralAntónio Guterres, has launched a call to ensure the continuity of the work of the United Nations refugee agency (UNRWA) while the possible involvement of 12 of its members in the October 7 attacks against Israel.
In a careful message full of diplomatic balancesGuterres acknowledges that “the alleged horrendous acts of those employees should have consequences”, but remember that there are “tens of thousands of people (about 30,000)” who work for that agency and who should not be penalized.
Furthermore, he insists that “the desperate needs of the population it (UNRWA) serves must be resolved,” which is why he makes a dramatic appeal to countries that have announced that they are suspending their funding to the agency, including the United States and many European countries.
“While I understand your concerns, I call with emphasis these governments to, at least, guarantee continuity of UNRWA operations,” says the Secretary General.
Allegedly involved in the attacks that belong to the agency
The statement also gives details about those allegedly involved in the attacks who belong to the agency: they were immediately identified and driven out by UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini, one is dead and the identity of two others is being clarified.
Guterres confirmed that there is an investigation opened by the Department of Internal Affairs since last Friday, in addition to another that will globally and independently review the operation of that agency.
Netanyahu’s government has repeatedly accused the UN
The case of the 12 UNRWA employees The terrible relationship between the government of Israel and the entire system United Nations: Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has repeatedly accused the UN in general and all its agencies of bias in favor of the Palestinians and against Israel.
He has even called for the resignation of the general secretary himself, Antonio Guterreson several occasions.
Last Friday, from the same tribune of the general Assemblythe Israeli ambassador Gilad Erdan declared: “The UN has not only become a weapon to delegitimize our existence, but also to physically exterminate us.”
Countries that have announced the suspension of UNRWA funding
Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands, Finland and Germany have publicly announced the suspension of UNRWA funding.
On the other hand, other countries such as Ireland either Norway They have reaffirmed their commitment to funding UNRWA and recalled the importance of its work.
France will “decide in due course” possible measures against UNRWA
The French Government has recognized the “exceptional severity” of the accusations regarding the alleged involvement in the attacks against Israel on October 7 of workers from the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), but has announced that will not suspend for the moment financing this agency, as other countries have done.
“France does not plan any payments (to UNRWA) in the first half of 2024 and will decide when the time comes what measures to take in collaboration with the United Nations and major donors, ensuring that all their transparency and security demands are met,” the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs explained in a statement.
France, the text recalls, “has chosen to considerably increase its humanitarian support to the civilian population of Gaza in the face of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza” and therefore “contributed almost 60 million euros to UNRWA actions in 2023”.
Paris has highlighted “the urgent need to adopt rapid and firm measures to ensure that the agency focuses on its mandate in a spirit free of calls to hatred or violence” and recalled that the alleged involvement of twelve UNRWA workers in the attacks of October 7 have been “clearly condemned” by UN Secretary General António Guterres.
“We hope that the investigations launched in recent days will shed light on past events and will be accompanied by concrete measures that will be implemented quickly,” added the statement from French diplomacy.