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UNRWA is ‘beacon of hope’: Donor countries tell Security Council briefing

Eight European countries have given a joint statement to the UN Security Council explaining why they have continued their funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

“UNRWA is a pillar of regional stability and a beacon of hope for millions of Palestinian children, women and men,” Luxembourg’s UN ambassador, Olivier Maes, said as he delivered the joint statement.

UNRWA “must be maintained and deserves our continued collective support until there is a political solution,” Maes added. The statement also offered “sincere condolences” to the UNRWA staff who have “paid the ultimate price while carrying out its lifesaving work”.

The UN says 178 UNRWA staff members have been killed in Gaza since October.

The countries that joined the joint statement were: Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain.

Lazzarini sends message that ‘besides UNRWA, there is nothing else’

Earlier, the head of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, Philippe Lazzarini, told the UN Security Council that no organisation can replace UNRWA in Gaza when it comes to aiding the victims of Israel’s assault.

Jordan says saving UNRWA means ‘saving lives’ after UNSC briefing

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said saving UNRWA is “saving lives” during remarks at the UN Security Council. He spoke as Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of UNRWA, briefed the council at a meeting requested by Jordan earlier today.

“Supporting UNRWA is supporting regional stability. Saving UNRWA is saving lives, saving hope and standing on the side of justice,” Safadi said.

Lazzarini warned that dismantling the agency will have major implications during a time of “seismic change” in the region.

Shortly after the briefing, Algerian state TV said Algeria gave UNRWA a $15m exceptional fund.


Israel’s attack on UNRWA ‘based on a lie’

A former spokesman for the UN’s agency for Palestinians says Israel’s criticism of the UNRWA is politically motivated and based on false accusations.

“This attack is based on a lie. It’s dishonest,” Chris Gunness told Al Jazeera. “If you get rid of UNRWA you suddenly get rid of the 5.9 million refugees registered with UNRWA.”

He said if the agency is disbanded, Palestinians would lose “inalienable rights” such as healthcare, education, and the right to self-determination. Gunness accused Israel of working to eradicate the organisation to the detriment of the Palestinian people.

“In Gaza, we’re seeing since March 22 UNRWA aid convoys blocked to the north. The implications of that are the 300,000 people there will slip further into starvation,” he said.


Last edited by SvennoJ - on 18 April 2024