Israel proposes dismantling UNRWA, replacing with different agency to distribute Gaza aid

Israel proposes dismantling UNRWA, replacing with different agency to distribute Gaza aid
The Israeli army chief has sent a proposal to UN officials to dismantle UNRWA, the agency tasked with providing aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
2 min read
01 April, 2024
Most of Gaza's population is in desperate need of food and medical aid [Getty]

Israel has proposed dismantling the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, and transferring its staff to a replacement agency which would facilitate food aid deliveries into war-torn Gaza, The Guardian has reported.

Citing UN sources, the proposal was made last week by Israeli army chief Herzi Halevi to UN officials in Israel, who in turn passed it onto United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he wanted to see the agency dismantled and replaced with a different organisation, after accusing some of its members of participating in the Hamas-led October 7 attacks in southern Israel, prompting the US, UK, and European states to cut off funding before some of them resumed.

Israel has not provided any evidence for these claims, however and UNRWA has outright denied the accusations, saying Israel is deliberately trying to destroy it.

Under the terms of Israel’s proposal, between 300 and 400 UNRWA staff would initially be transferred either to a different UN agency or a new organisation established for the purpose of distributing food aid in Gaza, according to The Guardian.

It was unclear who would run the new agency, the newspaper added.

UNRWA is facing added pressure after the US Congress passed a bill last week which will block millions of dollars of funding to the agency until March 2025.

Many people in northern Gaza have already perished from starvation as Israel blocks the delivery of desperately needed food aid. Gaza’s health ministry on Monday put the death toll at 32,845 from Israel’s nearly six-month war.