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UN chief requires donor international locations to revive funding for Gaza aid company

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The UN company has greater than 13,000 employees working in Gaza, and a minimum of 150 have been killed throughout the Israeli offensive.

The secretary-general of the United Nations on Sunday known as on international locations to proceed funding the primary company offering help in Gaza after a number of of its staff have been accused of collaborating within the Hamas assault on Israel that ignited the conflict 4 months in the past.

Antonio Guterres warned that the UN company for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, could be pressured to reduce help to greater than 2 million Palestinians as quickly as February. The coastal enclave is within the grip of a extreme humanitarian disaster, with 1 / 4 of the inhabitants dealing with hunger.

“The abhorrent alleged acts of those employees members will need to have penalties,” Guterres mentioned in a press release.

“However the tens of 1000’s of women and men who work for UNRWA, many in among the most harmful conditions for humanitarian employees, shouldn’t be penalized. The dire wants of the determined populations they serve should be met,” he added.

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European international locations droop UNRWA funding contributions

Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Britain and the Netherlands are the newest international locations to droop their help contributions to UNRWA amid the continued scandal. 

The US, Australia and Canada additionally suspended their funding. 

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini mentioned it terminated contracts with “a number of” staff and ordered an investigation after Israel supplied info alleging they performed a task within the assault. 

UNRWA has 13,000 staffers in Gaza, virtually all of them Palestinians, starting from lecturers in faculties that the company runs to docs, medical employees and help employees.

In a press release, Lazzarini known as the allegations “stunning” and mentioned any worker “concerned in acts of terror will likely be held accountable, together with by way of prison prosecution.”

He didn’t elaborate on what the staffers’ alleged position was within the assaults. Within the unprecedented shock assault, Hamas fighters broke by way of the safety fence surrounding Gaza and stormed close by Israeli communities, killing round 1,200 folks, principally civilians, and kidnapping some 250. Different militants joined the rampage.

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“UNRWA reiterates its condemnation within the strongest potential phrases of the abhorrent assaults of seven October” and requires the instant and unconditional launch of all Israeli hostages, Lazzarini mentioned.

There was some criticism of the transfer by worldwide donors to droop funding, together with from former New Zealand PM, and former head of the UN Growth Programme, Helen Clark. 

Writing on X, previously often known as Twitter, Clark mentioned that halting funds to UNRWA quantities to “collective punishment” of Gaza’s “besieged inhabitants.” 

For the reason that begin of the conflict, Israel’s assault has killed greater than 26,000 Palestinians, most ladies and kids, and wounded greater than 64,400 others, in line with Gaza’s Hamas-run Well being Ministry. 

The ministry doesn’t differentiate between combatants and civilians in its loss of life toll. 

Greater than 150 UNRWA staff are amongst these killed – the very best toll the world physique has suffered in a battle – and numerous UN shelters have been hit by the Israeli bombardment.

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