Ireland Announces €20 Million Support for UN Palestinian Refugee Agency Amid Funding Crisis

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, has declared a €20 million aid package for the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) during a news conference in Dublin. The announcement follows a meeting with UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. UNRWA, facing a funding crisis since Israel’s allegations linking its staff to a Hamas-led attack, has seen suspensions in funding from several countries, including the United States.

Ireland, a consistent supporter, contributed €18 million directly to UNRWA in 2023, part of the €36 million provided to the Palestinian people. Martin urged other nations to resume and expand support, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the looming cash crunch, with negative cash flow predicted from March. Lazzarini warned of an “existential threat” to the agency and urged nations to rescind funding suspensions.

The funding suspension stemmed from Israel’s claims that 12 UNRWA staff in Gaza were involved in the October 7 attack. Some donors, like the United States and Britain, insist on awaiting the results of the UN’s internal investigation before resuming support. UNRWA’s Commissioner-General stressed the need to prevent a collapse, describing the situation as dangerous and calling for international awareness. Lazzarini also called on the EU Commission to release its contribution to UNRWA, hoping other European countries would follow suit.

The UN’s investigation is ongoing, with a preliminary report expected in the coming weeks. Lazzarini emphasized the dire situation in Gaza and called for international attention to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe.

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