The United Kingdom and several other countries announced Saturday that they were suspending funding to the United Nations’ Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) after allegations that staff may have participated in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
Canada and the United States announced Friday that in the wake of the allegations they would temporarily pause funding to the agency, with the State Department saying that it was “extremely troubled by the allegations.” The U.K., Italy and Austria also followed suit this weekend and suspended their aid indefinitely, according to NBC News.
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“The UK is appalled by allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attack against Israel, a heinous act of terrorism that the UK Government has repeatedly condemned,” the UK Foreign Office said in a press release. “The UK is temporarily pausing any future funding of UNWRA whilst we review these concerning allegations,” it added.
“The Italian government suspended funding @UNRWA after the atrocious attack by Hamas against Israel on 7 October. Allied countries have recently made the same decision. We are committed to humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian population, protecting Israel’s security,” Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Tajani wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The U.N. announced Friday in a statement that it had received some information about the “alleged involvement of several UNRWA employees in the horrific attacks on Israel on 7 October” and had fired multiple employees as a result. Members of UNRWA have been accused in the past of promoting antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiments, so much so that U.S. elected officials proposed a bill in 2023 to halt funding to the agency until it could be determined that it did not aid Palestinian terrorism.
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked White House spokesperson John Kirby Friday how the U.S. was holding UNRWA accountable and if the White House thoroughly vetted the places its funding was sent. Kirby replied that the U.S. is “willing to hold [UNRWA accountable” if the allegations come out to be true.