Palestinian Authority says UNRWA needs ‘maximum support,’ not cuts

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees needs “maximum support,” the Palestinian Authority said Saturday, after donor countries suspended funding following accusations by Israel that several UNRWA staff were involved in Hamas’s October 7 attack.

“We need the maximum support for this international organization and not stopping support and assistance to it,” the Palestinian Authority’s minister for civilian affairs, Hussein Al-Sheikh, said on X, formerly Twitter.

The Palestinian foreign ministry also criticized what it described as an Israeli campaign against UNRWA, and the Hamas militant group condemned the termination of employee contracts “based on information derived from the Zionist enemy.”

Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the Palestinians’ umbrella political body the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said cutting support brought major political and relief risks.

“We call on countries that announced the cessation of their support for UNRWA to immediately reverse their decision,” he said on X.

UNRWA said on Friday it had sacked several employees accused by Israel of involvement in the October 7 attack.

Several countries, including Australia and Italy, have also announced similar moves.

The head of the agency, Philippe Lazzarini, has vowed to hold “accountable, including through criminal prosecution” any UNRWA employee found to have been involved in “acts of terror.”

UN chief Antonio Guterres has pledged to conduct an “urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA.”

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