PLO urges countries to rethink UNRWA disinvestment amid Israeli allegations
A number of Western countries have announced such steps after UNRWA said it had opened an investigation after Israel alleged some employees were involved in the October 7 attacks.
PLO Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh said the countries’ decision “entails great political and humanitarian relief risks”.
“At this particular time and in light of the continuing aggression against the Palestinian people, we need the maximum support for this international organization and not stopping support and assistance to it,” he wrote on X.
Hamas on Saturday slammed Israeli "threats" against UNRWA, urging the UN and other international organisations not to "cave in to the threats and blackmail".
UNRWA said Friday it had sacked several employees accused by Israel of involvement in Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack, prompting the United States to suspend critical funding.
The head of the agency, Philippe Lazzarini, vowed to hold "accountable, including through criminal prosecution" any UNRWA employee found to have taken part in acts of terror.
In response to the firings, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledged to conduct an "urgent and comprehensive independent review of UNRWA", his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The US State Department said it had "temporarily paused additional funding" to the agency while it reviewed the claims as well as the UN's plan to address concerns.
Twelve employees "may have been involved", it added.
Australia, Canada, Italy and the UK also said they had suspended their funding to the agency.
Israel's relentless bombardment and siege of Gaza has killed at least 26,257 people, including over 100 UN staff.