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israel-hamas war

Martin: Ireland has 'no plans' to suspend funding to UN Agency after alleged Hamas collusion

The UN Relief and Works Agency said Israel had provided the agency with information about the alleged involvement of several employees in the 7 October attack.

IRELAND IS NOT planning to suspend funding to a United Nations agency working with Palestinian refugees in the wake of the suspension of employees accused of involvement in the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel.  

In a statement today, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNWRA) commissioner-general said Israel had provided the agency with information about the alleged involvement of several employees in the attack. 

“To protect the agency’s ability to deliver humanitarian assistance, I have taken the decision to immediately terminate the contracts of these staff members and launch an investigation in order to establish the truth without delay,” Philippe Lazzarini said. 

He voted to hold “accountable, including through criminal prosecution,” any UNRWA found to be involved in the “acts of terror”. 

Earlier today Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said in a social media post that Ireland was not withdrawing it’s funding. 

In a post he said that he had full confidence in Philippe Lazzarini, the UN Commissioner General, and his decision to “immediately suspend” UNRWA workers “suspected of participation in the heinous attacks of October 7, to investigate thoroughly and show zero tolerance on terror”.

He added that Ireland: “has no plans to suspend funding for UNRWA’s vital Gaza work”.

“UNRWA’s 13,000 employees provide life saving assistance to 2.3m people and at incredible personal cost – with over 100 staff killed in last 4 months.”

Martin said that Ireland has provided €18m in 2023 and will continue our support in 2024.

The British government on Saturday said it would be “temporarily pausing any future funding” to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees after Israel accused several staff members of involvement in Hamas’s October 7 attack.

“The UK is appalled by allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attack against Israel,” the Foreign Office said, adding that the aid would be put on hold while “we review these concerning allegations”.

The allegations have also prompted the United States, Canada, Australia and Italy to suspend funding to the agency.

Israel said it would seek to stop UNRWA from operating in Gaza after the war. Hamas urged the international community to ignore Israel’s “threats”, while the Palestinian Authority said the agency needed “maximum support” from donors.

Diplomatic efforts have sought scaled-up aid deliveries for Gaza and a truce, after a week-long cessation of hostilities in November saw Hamas release dozens of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

CIA chief William Burns is to meet with his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts, as well as Qatar’s prime minister, in the coming days in Paris to seek a ceasefire, a security source told AFP.

The UN Security Council will meet to discuss the ICJ’s ruling on Wednesday.

With additional reporting from © AFP 2024