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EU to overview UNRWA funding and calls for employees probe after allegations of October 7 involvement

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The European Fee mentioned on Monday it’ll “overview” its assist to UNRWA, the UN company for Palestinian refugees, following allegations a number of of its employees members have been concerned within the October 7 assaults on Israel.

The EU government mentioned in a assertion it’ll “decide upcoming funding choices for UNRWA in mild of the very critical allegations” made in relation to the UN company’s employees.

The Fee additionally requires a probe into all UNRWA employees as quickly as doable to “verify that they didn’t take part within the assaults.”

“We’re asking initially for the organisation to hold out the investigation which it has itself introduced, and secondly we’re asking them to conform to an audit carried out by impartial specialists that might be chosen by the Fee,” the Fee’s chief spokesperson Eric Mamer mentioned.

“We count on UNRWA to permit this impartial to happen,” he added.

It comes after a number of UNRWA employees members have been alleged to have been concerned in Hamas’ 7 October assault on Israel, which left greater than 1,200 Israelis lifeless and provoked a struggle in Gaza that has claimed the lives of greater than 26,000 Palestinians.

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Based on a assertion by the US Division of State, the allegations relate to 12 UNRWA workers.

One employees member faces accusations of kidnapping a girl, whereas one other is alleged to have taken half in an assault on a kibbutz that left 97 folks lifeless, in keeping with the New York Instances.

Neighbourhood commissioner Olivér Várhelyi mentioned on social media platform X there can be “no enterprise as regular” following the allegations, and that UNRWA can be requested to audit its management methods and overview its safety mechanisms for EU funding.

Seven EU member states – together with France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands – have already introduced they’ll halt funds to UNRWA pending investigations.

The UN’s Secretary-Normal António Guterres has pleaded on these nations to reverse their choices to make sure life-saving help continues to achieve the civilian inhabitants within the besieged Gaza strip.

Spain, Eire and Luxembourg have introduced it’ll proceed to assist the company to keep away from endangering its crucial work.

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The EU is the biggest donor of humanitarian and growth help to Gaza, and has quadrupled its funds of humanitarian help to over €100 million because the struggle between Israel and Hamas broke out in October.

A lot of this funding is channelled by way of UNRWA, which because the outbreak of the struggle has performed a number one function in offering reduction to Gazans.

For 2021 to 2023, the EU’s contribution to UNRWA’s programme finances amounted to €281 million.

The EU government says no further funding to UNRWA is foreseen till the tip of February, and that the matter will likely be reviewed “in mild of the result of the investigations introduced by the UN.”

It additionally reaffirmed that its humanitarian help will proceed “unabated” by way of associate organisations.

The Fee briefly paused its growth help to the Palestinian territories following Hamas’ October 7 assaults on Israel, because it carried out an audit to make sure no EU money had inadvertently reached the palms of terrorist organisations.

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That overview discovered no diversion of funds to terrorist teams, permitting growth help to movement once more.

However the government now calls on UNRWA to permit “EU-appointed impartial exterior specialists” to audit the company to strengthen management methods designed to forestall employees from participating in terrorist actions.

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