Germany is also suspending support: the UN Palestinian Relief Agency is under massive pressure

Twelve employees of the aid organization are suspected of being involved in the brutal attack on Israel by the radical Islamic group Hamas on October 7th.

Germany is also suspending support: the UN Palestinian Relief Agency is under massive pressure

Twelve employees of the aid organization are suspected of being involved in the brutal attack on Israel by the radical Islamic group Hamas on October 7th. As a result, countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, Finland and Italy announced that they would suspend their aid payments. On Saturday evening, the federal government also announced that it would not approve any new funding for UNRWA in the Gaza Strip until the allegations had been clarified.

The Foreign Office and the Federal Development Ministry (BMZ) emphasized in a joint statement that there are currently no new commitments for the UN aid agency. They also emphasized that UNRWA's role is "vital to the basic services of the Palestinian population."

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini sharply criticized the donor countries' decision. "It is shocking that funding for the charity has been suspended in response to allegations against a small group of staff," he said.

UN Secretary-General Guterres appealed to donors to “at least ensure the continuity of UNRWA’s work.” The lives of two million people in the Gaza Strip depend on the support of the UN aid agency, which had to limit its work in February without further funding, explained Guterres. Although he understands the concerns and is "appalled" by the allegations against the UNRWA employees, the other employees of the aid organization should not be punished for this.

The UN opened investigations against the accused employees. According to Guterres, nine of them were fired. One of them is dead and the identity of the other two is still being determined.

Israel's suspension of aid payments does not go far enough. "Mr. Lazzarini, please resign," wrote Foreign Minister Israel Katz on the online service X, formerly Twitter. His government will ensure that the UN aid agency will no longer play a role in the Palestinian territory after the end of the war in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, there were signs of progress in the negotiations for a ceasefire in the war. According to a report in the New York Times, negotiators led by the United States are nearing an agreement that would provide for the release of more than a hundred Hamas hostages. In return, Israel should suspend its military operation in the Gaza Strip for around two months. As the US newspaper further reported, citing a US government representative, the draft for such an agreement was to be discussed in Paris on Sunday.

At the end of November, as part of a week-long humanitarian ceasefire brokered by Qatar, Egypt and the USA, 105 Hamas hostages were released in return for 240 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still held by Hamas and 28 of them are believed to be dead.

Israel continued its offensive at the weekend, with the army speaking of "intense fighting" in Khan Yunis in the south of the Palestinian territory. The army explained that “terrorists were eliminated and large quantities of weapons were confiscated.” Heavy fighting was reported around two hospitals in Khan Yunis, among others. The Israeli army also said it attacked several targets in the north and center of the Gaza Strip.

According to Israeli information, the radical Islamic Hamas killed around 1,140 people and kidnapped around 250 others as hostages in the Gaza Strip in its brutal major attack on Israel on October 7th. Since then, Israel has taken massive military action in the Gaza Strip, with the declared aim of destroying Hamas. According to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health, which cannot be independently verified, more than 26,400 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip so far.

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