The UN investigates the possible involvement of some UNRWA members in the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7

The Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, has ordered an investigation to clarify the possible involvement of members of UNRWA, the agency for Palestinian refugees – the largest in Gaza – in the October 7 attacks by Hamas against Israel. Since then, the Israeli military offensive against the Strip has caused more than 26,000 deaths, according to Gazan authorities, and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

According to a statement from his spokesperson, Guterres was first informed by UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini about “extremely serious allegations” implicating an unspecified number of UNRWA members in those attacks, at which Guterres was “horrified.” .

After that, he asked Lazzarini for a quick investigation, and to conclude with the dismissal “and a potential criminal prosecution” against any member of the agency who is proven to have participated in those events, which resulted in the death of more than 1,100 people. –mostly Israeli civilians– and the kidnapping of 240 more.

In addition to this specific investigation, Guterres has announced a more global one on the general activity of UNRWA.

Israel has repeatedly accused UNRWA of complicity with Hamas in Gaza, and has claimed that several of its members are in fact militants of the Islamist group, something the UN has always denied.

Furthermore, these accusations have served Israel to call into question the neutrality of UN bodies in general and all its agencies, including its secretary general.

With more than 30,000 employees, UNRWA is the largest organization in Gaza outside the strip government.

Termination of contracts

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) announced this Friday its decision to terminate the contracts of several members of its staff who allegedly participated in the attacks against Israel on October 7 and to initiate an investigation to clarify the facts.

UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement that he took “the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation to establish the truth without delay,” as well as “to protect the capacity of the UNRWA.” Agency to provide humanitarian assistance” in the Gaza Strip.

In the note, Lazzarini noted that this situation occurs after “Israeli authorities provided UNRWA with information about the alleged participation of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks against Israel on October 7.”

“Any UNRWA employee who has been involved in acts of terrorism must be held accountable, including through criminal proceedings,” added the Agency’s top representative, without specifying how many workers are involved or the acts that Israel attributes to them or their alleged involvement. with the Islamist group Hamas.

Faced with these accusations leveled by Israel against members of UNRWA, Lazzarini reiterated, on behalf of his organization, his condemnation in “the strongest possible terms of the abominable attacks of October 7” and called for the “immediate and unconditional” release of all the Israeli hostages and their safe return to their families.

“These shocking allegations come as more than two million people in Gaza depend on the life-saving assistance the Agency has been providing since the war began,” he noted.

For the Commissioner General of UNRWA, “anyone who betrays the fundamental values ​​of the United Nations also betrays those we serve in Gaza, throughout the region and in other parts of the world.”

US suspends UNRWA funding

The United States announced this Friday the temporary suspension of funding for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) over accusations that several members of its staff allegedly participated in the attacks by the armed wing of Hamas against Israel on October 7. .

“The United States is extremely concerned about allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel,” the State Department said in a statement.

US diplomacy announced that it has “temporarily suspended additional funding for UNRWA” while it reviews “these allegations and the measures the United Nations is taking to address them.”

The United States acknowledged that the agency has so far played “a critical role” in providing assistance to Palestinians, such as food and medicine, and has “saved lives.”

Therefore, he stressed that “it is important for UNRWA to address these allegations and take appropriate corrective measures.”

In that sense, the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, spoke on Thursday with the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, to ask him for “a rapid and exhaustive investigation of this matter.”

The Joe Biden Administration has also contacted the Government of Israel to “request more information about these accusations.”

“There must be full accountability for anyone who participated in the heinous attacks of October 7,” the State Department stressed.

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