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In desperation, Israel moving to discredit UNRWA

Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah on May 27, 2024. (AFP)

A member of Israel’s Knesset has advanced a bill intended to designate the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as a “terror organization.”

“The purpose of this bill is to declare UNRWA as a terrorist organization for all intents and purposes, as well as order the termination of the relations [and the cooperation] of Israel with the agency, either directly or indirectly,” Yulia Malinovksy said in the introduction to the bill, which she authored.

Malinovsky, without providing evidence, claimed 12 UNRWA employees – “without a shadow of a doubt” – were connected to Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on October 7, 2023. 

The regime has criticized the UN organization throughout the savage military campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip over the past months.

In January, major donors cut funding to the agency against the backdrop of Israel’s allegations.

UNRWA is the primary source of humanitarian aid not only to Gaza but also to Palestinian refugees throughout the region. Still, several countries say they will resume funding UNRWA.

On Saturday, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said Rome would resume funding UNRWA as part of a 35-million-euro aid package. He made the announcement in a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa in the Italian capital.

Last month, an independent review found that Israel had failed to provide evidence of claims that some UNRWA workers were affiliated with the Palestinian resistance.


The review, by an independent panel led by France’s former minister for Europe and foreign affairs, Catherine Colonna, underscored the lack of substantiation for broader allegations made by Israel that accused numerous UNRWA employees of affiliation with Hamas or Islamic Jihad.

The Colonna report, which was commissioned by the UN, found that UNRWA has consistently supplied employee lists to Israel for vetting and that Israel “has not informed UNRWA of any concerns relating to any UNRWA staff based on these staff lists since 2011.”

The report also deemed UNRWA indispensable for providing essential humanitarian aid and services.

Washington’s financial support of UNRWA has been blocked for at least a year. British ministers have also said they would wait for the Colonna report to make a decision on resuming funding.

Palestinians continue to endure the US-Israeli genocidal war in the besieged Gaza Strip.

In the most recent aggression, Israel killed more than 50 displaced Palestinians taking refuge in tents and camps in the southern city of Rafah. The regime had claimed the city was a “safe zone.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent expects the death toll to rise given the large number of the injured being sent to partially-functioning hospitals. Many of the wounded are women and children.

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