Germany resumes funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine

Olha Bereziuk

The German government has decided to resume aid to the United Nations Middle East Agency for Palestine Refugees UNRWA, several of whose employees were suspected of involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel.

Welt writes about it.

The decision was made after the publication of an investigation report on UNRWA led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna.

In the report, the independent experts concluded that UNRWA had established a number of "robust" mechanisms to ensure compliance with the principle of neutrality. The document also emphasized that while Israel has publicly stated that a significant number of UNRWA staff members are members of terrorist organizations, it has not provided evidence to support this.

"Against this background and in conjunction with these reforms, the federal government will continue its cooperation with UNRWA in Gaza in the near future," the German government said.

What preceded

In January 2024, Israel officially provided details of 12 staff members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians who may have been involved in an attack by Hamas militants on the State of Israel on October 7, 2023, which killed 1 200 people and displaced 253 to the Gaza Strip.

Israelʼs accusations have forced 16 countries, including the United States, to freeze $450 million in funding to the agency. UNRWA said it had released the suspects and launched an internal investigation.

In late January, Israel said UNRWA had far more Hamas members, with 190 staff involved in the attack. On March 4, the Israeli army made new accusations that the organization employs more than 450 "military operatives" from Hamas and other groups. Tel Aviv claimed to have shared this intelligence with the UN.

On February 5, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres ordered the creation of an independent panel to investigate the activities of UNRWA.

On February 9, UNRWA said that some of its staff had made confessions about collaborating with Hamas under duress — they were forced to testify in Israeli prisons. How many such people there were is not specified, but the agencyʼs report describes in detail the facts of ill-treatment.

In March, Canada and Sweden decided to resume UNRWA funding.