The head of the main U.N. aid agency in the war-battered Gaza Strip warned late Saturday that its work is collapsing after nine countries decided to cut funding over allegations that several agency employees had participated in the deadly Hamas attack against Israel four months ago.
Philippe Lazzarini, head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, said he was shocked such decisions were taken as “famine looms” in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. “Palestinians in Gaza did not need this additional collective punishment,” he wrote on X. “This stains all of us.”
His warning came a day after he announced he had fired and was investigating several agency employees over allegations that they participated in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel that sparked the war. The United States, which said 12 agency employees were under investigation, immediately said it is suspending funding, followed by several other countries, including Britain, Italy and Finland.
The agency, which has 13,000 employees in Gaza, most of them Palestinians, is the main organization aiding Gaza’s population amid the humanitarian disaster. More than 2 million of the territory’s 2.3 million people depend on it for “sheer survival,” including food and shelter, Lazzarini said, warning this lifeline can “collapse any time now.” [Continue reading…]