The U.S. decision to temporarily pause funding for UNRWA will dramatically weaken the backbone of the humanitarian response for 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza. It is important to ensure a thorough investigation into the grave allegations by the Israeli government that 12 UNRWA employees directly participated in the heinous attacks on October 7, and to ensure full transparency and accountability going forward. But the investigation and any subsequent accountability measures must not derail the critical, lifesaving work of UNRWA in Gaza and throughout the region.
The plain reality is that UNRWA’s humanitarian role in this crisis is indispensable and cannot remotely be replaced by any other aid organization. UNRWA employs more than 13,000 staff in Gaza, of whom 152 have been killed since the fighting began. This funding pause also poses major problems for UNRWA’s mission and its more than 30,000 staff throughout the wider region. It is imperative that the United States and other donors resume support to UNRWA as rapidly as possible to avoid damaging the Gaza aid operation at a critical time. [Continue reading…]