Ankara urges reconsideration as key donors halt funding to UNRWA

Ankara has expressed deep concern over the decision of key donor countries to suspend funding to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees following Israel's allegations that staff members took part in Hamas' Oct. 7 attack.

"The suspension of funding to UNRWA, following allegations against a few UNRWA staff, will primarily harm the Palestinian people," read a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Jan. 28.

"We expect the countries that have announced suspension of funding to UNRWA to reconsider their decisions."

The UNRWA has taken swift action in response to the allegations, terminating the employment of several individuals allegedly involved in the attack. Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, pledged a thorough investigation into the matter and assured that any employee found guilty of participating in "acts of terror" would be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution.

The United States, which is the agency's largest donor, cut funding over the weekend, followed by eight other countries, including Britain and Germany. Together, they provided nearly 60 percent of UNRWA's budget in 2022.

The U.S. called for complete accountability for those involved in the attack, while the British government expressed its shock at the allegations.

Canada, France, Italy and the Netherlands also announced suspensions or freezes in funding while investigations are ongoing. This collective action threatens to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where over 2 million Palestinians rely on UNRWA aid.

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres has promised an urgent independent review of UNRWA, but also pleaded for donor states to "guarantee the continuity" of the agency.

"The abhorrent alleged acts of these staff...

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