20th June 2024
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Spain to give an extra €20 million in aid to UN relief agency for Palestine refugees

Spain’s foreign minister said on Thursday that the country would be giving an additional €20 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which is facing a cash crisis after several nations suspended their funding.

The agency has been at the centre of controversy since Israel accused about a dozen of its employees of involvement in the 7 October Hamas attack on southern Israel.

Several countries — including the United States, Britain, Germany and Japan — suspended funding to UNRWA following the Israeli allegations.

But the European Commission, recognising steps taken by the UN, said on Friday that it would release €50 million in UNRWA funding.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares announced Spain’s extra funding at a joint news conference in Madrid with UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini (main image).

‘We will make a new contribution of €20 million to UNRWA to support the organisation in its crucial humanitarian work in Gaza and to provide the food, education and health needs of the nearly six million Palestinian refugees in the region,’ said Albares.

Lazzarini said he hoped Spain’s move would encourage those nations that had suspended their aid to the agency to once again give it money. And he repeated his call for the road crossings into Gaza to be opened to allow more aid into the territory.

‘Today we do not have the meaningful, at scale, uninterrupted humanitarian assistance reaching the people in Gaza in desperate need of assistance,’ he said.

‘The simple answer would be the political will to open the road crossing and to have daily, at scale, convoys and flow of humanitarian assistance going into the Gaza Strip.’

Hamas’s 7 October attack on Israel resulted in about 1,160 deaths, most of them civilians, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory operations in Hamas-controlled Gaza have killed more than 30,800 people, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

The amount of aid brought into Gaza by truck has plummeted during five months of war. UNRWA is at the centre of efforts to provide humanitarian relief in Gaza, where the United Nations has warned repeatedly of looming famine after nearly five months of Israeli bombardment.

UNRWA employs around 30,000 people in the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria — with about 13,000 staff in the Gaza Strip.

ALSO READ: Spain and Ireland seek economic sanctions if Israel breaching obligations.

ALSO READ: Israel recalls Spanish ambassador after ‘outrageous remarks’ by Pedro Sánchez.

ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez: ‘I have serious doubts Israel is complying with international law’.

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