• Wed. Feb 21st, 2024

US Suspends UNRWA Funding Amid Alleged Hamas Role

The United States government has suspended funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). The decision comes in response to multiple proofs that several UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7th attack by Hamas on Israel, a triggering event for the subsequent Gaza war.

On Friday, the US State Department expressed its deep concern over the accusations against UNRWA and announced a temporary halt in additional funding while investigations continue. During a conversation with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed that those responsible for the horrible killings need to be held accountable.

Then, he reiterated the UN’s commitment to conducting a thorough and impartial review of UNRWA. However, the State Department acknowledged that UNRWA played a crucial role in providing humanitarian aid to Palestinians, especially food, medicine, and shelter.

UN Employees Fired Over Hamas Attack Allegations

Meanwhile, the head of UNRWA confirmed the firing of several employees, and an investigation is now underway after Israeli authorities gave details about staff members’ alleged involvement in the event on October 7.

This incident highlights the need for international organizations to have strong oversight and accountability measures and adhere to international rules even when they help the vulnerable.

Israel Accuses WHO Of Ignoring Hamas’ Use Of Hospitals For Military Purposes

During the recent World Health Organization (WHO) executive board meeting, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Meirav Eilon Shahar, accused the WHO of being aware and failing to disclose Hamas’ exploitation of hospitals in the Gaza Strip for military purposes.

Shahar argued that the WHO’s negligence amounted to collusion with the terrorist organization. During her address, Shahar presented compelling evidence gathered by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) showing WHO’s knowledge about Hamas’ infiltration of hospitals in Gaza.

As expected, Palestinian representatives denied the allegations and accused Israel of fabricating evidence to justify its military actions in Gaza. In its response, the WHO reiterated its commitment to impartiality and stated that it could not verify the claims made by either side.

Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus became emotional while addressing the board, recounting his own experiences of war as a child in Ethiopia, emphasizing the devastating impact of conflict on civilian populations. Hence, he urged for a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis in Gaza.

Netanyahu Slams ICJ’s Ruling On Genocide Charges

In his response to the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) recent ruling on genocide charges brought against Israel by South Africa, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the decision as a “mark of disgrace.”

The ICJ, in an interim ruling, called for measures to prevent genocidal acts against Palestinians. However, Netanyahu released a video broadcast to the nation, asserting Israel’s right to self-defense. He added that the court’s refusal to throw out the genocide charges is outrageous.

While the court declined to order an immediate ceasefire (a part of South Africa’s request), it stated that Israel should find a means to prevent harm to innocent Gazan residents.

Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to international law but stressed that Israel’s war is against terrorists, not Palestinian civilians.

Israeli Top Politician’s Reactions

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant criticized the court’s decision, emphasizing that Israel does not need moral lectures while fighting Hamas. Also, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments, condemning the court’s decision as an act of persecution against the Jewish people.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid added that Israel does not need moral preaching but urged the IDF to make efforts to minimize civilian casualties.