EU reviews funding for UN Palestinian agency after Israeli allegations

Brussels: The European Commission said on Monday it would review whether it could continue to fund the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) in light of the allegations that staff members were involved in the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas in southern Israel.

Several countries, including EU members Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Finland, paused funding for UNRWA after allegations by Israel that 12 of its 13,000 staff in Gaza were involved.

UN officials urged them to reconsider a pause in funding, pledging that any staff found involved in the Hamas attack would be punished and warning that aid for some two million people in Gaza was at stake.

“The European Commission will determine upcoming funding decisions for UNRWA in light of the very serious allegations,” the commission said in a statement.

“The Commission will review the matter in light of the outcome of the investigation announced by the UN and the actions it will take.”

No additional funding for the organisation is currently foreseen until the end of February, the commission said.

The commission will try to balance both the seriousness of the allegations and the dire need for humanitarian aid among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, a spokesman said.

“On the one hand we have these extremely serious allegations, and it’s obvious that these need to be investigated seriously and without delay,” spokesman Eric Mamer told reporters.

“Secondly, UNRWA is a partner for humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. We recognise fully that aid to Palestinians needs to continue.”