UNRWA's Fate Hangs in the Balance as Israel Demands Dissolution, Security Council Stands Firm

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UNRWA's Fate Hangs in the Balance as Israel Demands Dissolution, Security Council Stands Firm

## UNRWA's Future in Jeopardy as Israel Demands Dissolution

The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, urged the Security Council to ensure the agency's survival in the face of Israeli demands for its dissolution. Lazzarini warned that dismantling UNRWA would deepen Gaza's humanitarian crisis and accelerate the onset of famine.

Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan claimed that UNRWA has been infiltrated by Hamas and is part of a Palestinian plot to annihilate Israel. He called for the agency's defunding and suggested alternative aid organizations could help Palestinians in Gaza.

The clash over UNRWA follows Israeli allegations that 12 of the agency's workers in Gaza participated in a Hamas attack into southern Israel. These allegations led to the suspension of contributions to UNRWA by the United States and other countries.

Lazzarini argued that the real aim of Israel's efforts to end UNRWA's operations is to end the refugee status of millions of Palestinians. He called allegations that UNRWA is perpetuating their refugee status false and dishonest.

At the Security Council meeting, all 15 members, including the United States, voiced support for UNRWA. U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood urged Israel to end its ban on UNRWA delivering aid to Gazans and called the agency the bedrock of support for vulnerable Palestinian refugees.

Lazzarini also reported that 178 UNRWA personnel have been killed and over 160 of its premises have been damaged or destroyed since October 7th. He demanded an independent investigation into the disregard for the protected status of humanitarian workers and facilities.

The U.S. Congress has suspended funding for UNRWA until March 2025. Lazzarini said most countries have resumed funding, but the agency will have to compensate for the shortfall. He said UNRWA now has funding until the end of June.