The decision by several key donor countries to halt funding to UNRWA, based on accusations made by the Israeli government of UNRWA staff involvement in a Hamas attack, is deeply concerning. The allegations over the involvement of some UNRWA staff in the 7 October attacks are very serious and must be thoroughly investigated. Anyone involved in acts of terror must be held accountable, it is however essential to adhere to evidence-based decision-making during this unprecedented humanitarian crisis and a volatile political situation. We encourage all key stakeholders to refrain from hasty decisions that impact millions of suffering civilians and to make a thorough and impartial assessment of these allegations before taking any drastic measure.
UNRWA plays a critical role in providing essential humanitarian support to Palestinian people, including food, medicine and shelter. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, rightly points out that the decision to suspend funding will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, further deteriorating the socio-economic conditions in the West Bank and neighboring countries.
Furthermore, the implications of this decision extend beyond the immediate humanitarian concerns, significantly impacting the broader political context, jeopardizing the prospects for lasting peace in the region.
Confronted with these formidable challenges, it is imperative for the international community to ensure the non-politicization of humanitarian aid. We challenge the decision of funding donors to penalize the humanitarian needs of millions of women, men and children to confront the alleged internal failures of a single institution.
ACT Alliance together with the ACT Palestine Forum, along with numerous faith-based and civil society organizations in Palestine and Israel, calls on all key donors who have cut funding to the UNRWA to promptly reconsider this decision.
These actions not only exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis but also cultivate a pervasive sense of injustice, hopelessness and suspicion towards humanitarian aid and humanitarian principles among the Palestinian population.
As part of the ACT Alliance, we join the multiple calls to governments to resume funding the UNRWA. It is essential to separate humanitarian aid from political considerations and work towards a resolution that not only addresses the needs of the affected population but also avoids exacerbating the already catastrophic situation.
By upholding the principles of impartiality and prioritizing the well-being of civilians, we can contribute to a more just response to the complex challenges faced by the Palestinian people.