Israel has yet to provide evidence of alleged UNRWA staff terrorist links, Colonna report says

Israel has yet to provide evidence of alleged UNRWA staff terrorist links, Colonna report says

The Guardian reports:

Israel has yet to provide supporting evidence of its claims that employees of the UN relief agency Unrwa are members of terrorist organisations, an independent review led by the former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna has said.

The Colonna report, which was commissioned by the UN in the wake of Israeli allegations, found that Unrwa had regularly supplied Israel with lists of its employees for vetting, and that “the Israeli government has not informed Unrwa of any concerns relating to any Unrwa staff based on these staff lists since 2011”.

Israeli allegations of the involvement of Unrwa staff in the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel led major donors in January to cut their funding to the agency, the main channel of humanitarian support not only to Palestinians in Gaza but to Palestinian refugee communities across the region.

The funding was cut despite the dire needs of 2.3 million people in Gaza, most of whom have been forced from their homes by the Israeli offensive since 7 October and have been struggling to find water, food, shelter or medical care.

Most of the donor nations have resumed their funding in recent weeks. UK ministers had said they would wait for the Colonna report to make a decision on resuming funding. US financial support of Unrwa has been permanently banned by Congress since the allegations were made.

A separate investigation is being carried out into the 7 October attack by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services.

The Colonna review, which was drafted with the help of three Nordic research institutes and is due to be published later on Monday, makes clear that Israel has yet to substantiate any of its broader claims about the involvement of Unrwa staff in Hamas or Islamic Jihad. [Continue reading…]


Read the full report, Independent Review of Mechanisms and Procedures to Ensure Adherence by UNRWA to the Humanitarian Principle of Neutrality.

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