US cuts off aid for UN agency assisting Palestinians

President Biden’s administration announced on January 25 that it was suspending funding to the UN agency assisting Palestinians amidst allegations against its employees, according to The Guardian.

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) are on the receiving end of serious accusations that some of those on their record books were complicit in Gaza-controlling militant group Hamas’ shock assault on Israel on October 7. 

It was revealed on January 25 that Secretary of State Anthony Blinken informed Antonio Guterres, the world body’s Secretary General, of the US’ decision. 

In a US State Department statement on its website on January 26, it said, “The United States is extremely troubled by the allegations that twelve UNRWA employees may have been involved in the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.  The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them, 

“The United States has reached out to the Government of Israel to seek more information about these allegations, and we have briefed Members of Congress.  We will remain in close contact with the United Nations and Government of Israel regarding this matter.” 

READ: UN bosses sign letter calling for Gaza ceasefire – AFP

In one of his first moves as US President, Joe Biden resumed funding to the UNRWA which had been cut off by his controversial predecessor Donald Trump who has a good chance of returning to the White House come 2025. 

Following the allegations, Canada, Italy, Japan and the UK amongst other notable world powers also suspended funding to the organisation as Guterres pleads for countries to continue to give much needed aid given the dire situation in Gaza. 

A UK Foreign Office Spokesperson said, “The UK is appalled by allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attack, a heinous act of terrorism that the UK government has repeatedly condemned. 

 “The UK is temporarily pausing any future funding of UNRWA while we review these concerning allegations. We remain committed to getting humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza.” 

The Guardian/ BBC News

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