UNRWA funding in Gaza to be resumed soon, claims Norway

Norway’s Foreign Minister said that funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) could resume soon, Reuters reported.

On March 6, Espen Barth Eide said in an interview, “I think that a large number of those countries who suspended (their funding to the UN agency) are (having) second thoughts.” 

Norway is a top donor to the UNRWA and Barth Eide noted that the country has continued to fund it despite the allegations and that 275 million Norwegian Krones (roughly $26 million) was given to the agency in February.  

In late January, allegations that 12 of the 13,000 Gaza-based employees were involved in Hamas’ assault on Southern Israel in October prompted 16 countries, including the US and UK, to stop giving the main agency assisting desperate Palestinians donations. 

The decision was met with pleas from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, calling on the countries who suspended their much-needed funding to reconsider. 

READ: Jordan king says UNRWA must come back

The agency’s Director of Communications, Juliette Touma, also called on the 16 countries to think twice as well recently affirming that none of the countries which had frozen their funding had resumed yet. 

“We are operating from hand-to-mouth. That’s how we got through February. That’s how we will get through March.” Touma said.  

On March 1, the EU, which Norway is not a member of, said it would pay 50 million Euros ($54 million) to the UNRWA but hold back 32 million Euros amid an ongoing investigation into the allegations. 

Norway’s Foreign Minister said that the withdrawal of funding to the agency was an act of collective punishment against the Palestinian people and that ” they are hoping, I think – without speaking for individual countries – that they will get something from these investigations that suggest that they can say: “Well, we needed to suspend, but now we’re back’.”  

Following the allegations against a dozen of their employees, UNRWA director Philippe Lazzarini swiftly dismissed those accused. 

The UNRWA claimed that two employees who were allegedly involved in the October 7 attacks had been recently killed in Gaza.


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