UNITED NATIONS: No organization can “replace or substitute” the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency, employees of which were implicated in the October 7 attacks on Israel, the UN’s coordinator for Gaza aid said on Tuesday.
Several countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan, have suspended funding to the agency, and the senior official’s intervention came as the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres prepared to meet donor countries.
“There is no way that any organization can replace or substitute (the) tremendous capacity, the fabric of UNRWA — (their) ability and their knowledge of the population in Gaza,” said the recently appointed coordinator, Sigrid Kaag, referring to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
Countries halt funding to UN agency in Gaza
UNRWA said it has acted promptly over allegations by Israel that 12 of its staff were involved in the Hamas attacks and that cuts in funding will affect ordinary Palestinians.
The UN agency has long been under scrutiny by Israel, which accuses it of systematically going against the country’s interests.
Israel has vowed to stop the agency’s work in Gaza after the war.
The unprecedented October 7 Hamas attack resulted in about 1,140 deaths, mostly civilians, in southern Israel, according to an AFP tally of official figures.
Militants also seized 250 hostages, of whom Israel says around 132 remain in Gaza, including the bodies of at least 28.
Israel’s relentless military offensive has killed at least 26,751 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas government’s health ministry in the territory.