Don’t restore UNRWA funding, MPs say


UNRWA distributes flour to Palestinian refugees in Khan Younis, Gaza in November . (Photo by Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

Conservative MPs have pressed the government not to restore funding to the UN agency for Palestiinian refugees that was paused in January after Israel alleged a number of its employees had been involved in the Hamas attack on October 7.

Theresa Villiers, the MP for Chipping Barnet, told the Telegraph that the UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency), which was set up to support Palestinian refugees in 1949, was “completely discredited”.

A new organisation was needed which was “not tainted by the failings of UNRWA,” she said.

According to the Mail, the agency has received £27 million from the UK since October 2022 and was due to get another £11 million by October this year.

Former Home Secretary Suella Braverman said it would “be a disgrace for taxpayers’ money to be diverted towards its activities”.

Greg Smith, MP for Buckingham, said resumption of funding would be “morally bankrupt”.

The UN is due to submit its own report into the Israeli allegations, while a Foreign Office review into UNRWA is expected to be out in the coming week.

Eighteen countries put their contributions on hold after the allegations were made but a number including Australia and Sweden have resumed payments.

UNRWA  head Philippe Lazzarini called the suspension of funding “irresponsible” at the time, noting the action it had taken following the allegations.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that out of the 12 UNRWA employees implicated, nine had had their employment terminated, one was dead and the identities of the other two were being clarified.

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