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NGOs condemn decision by the US and allies to cut funds to UN agency

Ramallah, Feb 2 (Prensa Latina) Nearly 30 non-governmental organizations condemned the decision of several Western powers, led by the United States, to suspend financing to the UN agency in charge of helping the Palestinians.

In a joint statement, the NGOs expressed their deep concern about the measure against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA), and recalled that UNRWA is the main provider of aid to millions of Palestinians in the occupied territories and in several neighboring countries. “As aid organizations, we are deeply concerned and outraged,” they stressed.

They also warned that the suspension will affect the vital assistance to over two million civilians, more than half of whom are minors.

They warned that people in Gaza face imminent famine and disease outbreaks due to “Israel’s continued indiscriminate bombing and deliberate deprivation of aid. (…) We are shocked by the reckless decision to cut off a lifeline for an entire population by some of the same countries that asked to intensify aid to the Gaza Strip,” they said.

The signatories stressed that “the decision comes as the International Court of Justice ordered immediate and effective action to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.”

The statement recalls that 152 UNRWA personnel were killed and 145 of its facilities were damaged during the Israeli attacks, which began on October 7th.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s government accused 12 of the agency’s 13,000 workers of participating in the armed incursion of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) against Israel. Although both the agency and the UN announced a swift investigation to determine the veracity of those claims, several Western powers, including the United States, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, stopped funding UNRWA.