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Western Nations Cancel UNRWA Funding

In late January, as Gaza Starves, Australia and other donor countries paused life-saving funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides social services to Palestinian refugees, after Israel accused 12 UNRWA staff members – without providing any proof – of being involved in the October 7 attacks on Israel. UNRWA is the largest humanitarian actor in Gaza.

With Gaza on the brink of famine, UNRWA’s Commissioner General Mr Philippe Lazzarini urged countries to re-consider their funding pause. The accused staff members’ contracts were terminated and a full investigation was launched. Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong was forced to concede that she had no evidence of the allegation that UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7 attack before pausing funding. Following similar moves by Canada, Sweden and the European Union, Australia reinstated its UNRWA funding in March under “stringent conditions”.