HIMAM: "Suspending support for UNRWA constitutes collective punishment for Palestinians."

Israel is planning to abolish UNRWA because it is a symbol of the refugee issue and a reminder of the occupation.

(Photo: HIMAM)
PRESS RELEASE — HIMAM, the coalition of Jordanian human rights civil society organizations, has followed, with regret, the rushed announcements issued by countries funding the UN Relief & Works Agency (UNRWA). This hasty decision came following an announcement issued by the Israeli occupation state of the alleged participation of several agency employees in the Hamas attack last October 7th. To avoid any consequences, the UN agency has terminated the services of these employees and announced the opening of an investigation into the matter.اضافة اعلان

It is dangerous for donor countries to rely on a mere claim issued by the Israeli intelligence services, which they said was based on their investigations with detainees belonging to the Hamas movement. The danger of this step lies in the fact that assuming the existence of honest confessions issued by detainees, these confessions are illegitimate. By exposing detainees to torture and extracting confessions from them, these confessions or testimonies are legally worthless under fair trial standards.

This unprecedented acceleration in taking dangerous decisions to stop funding the UN agency, based on unproven allegations, and before the completion of the investigation or confirming the results, constitutes, in reality, a fatal decision against hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Such decisions put civilians who depend on UNRWA services for their survival at risk of death.

We cannot ignore the coincidence of the revelation of these allegations and decisions with the issuance of the binding ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering the delivery of aid to civilians in Gaza. The effect of donor countries' decisions will hinder the implementation of the court's order. These decisions must be seen within the context of the constant attack on UNRWA from Israeli officials and public figures and the claim that the resistance is using its buildings in military battles, the validity of which has not been proven.

The suspending funding for UNRWA by these countries comes after Israel killed approximately 150 UNRWA workers, according to the United Nations data, and these countries did not lift a finger to hold the Israeli occupying state accountable for that.

The cessation of these countries' support for UNRWA constitutes a retreat from their responsibilities towards the UN relief agency and the international community's failure to solve the problem's roots. UNRWA was created with the mandate to implement Resolution 194, which stipulates the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes. Such decisions constitute a collective punishment of the Palestinians. This measure is inseparable from the intention of the Israeli occupation state for decades to abolish UNRWA, as it represents the essence of its occupation of Palestine and a permanent reminder of it.

HIMAM calls on the countries that announced the suspension of funding for UNRWA to review their decisions without delay and wait for the results of an independent investigation to be issued. Defunding threats to the work of international organizations defeat the purpose of its existence and leaves it vulnerable to the occupying state's control over it.

These donors must realize that the consequences of the collapse of UNRWA will hinder its humanitarian response to the Israeli war on Gaza and will incur a heavy humanitarian price whose consequences cannot be remedied, especially at this critical stage. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians depend on UNRWA to provide shelter and food.

HIMAM warns that these decisions represent a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of civilians who are suffering from famine and epidemics.

The hastiness of international donors will also encourage the Israeli occupation state to create more allegations against other international organizations such as UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and others, which it does not want to exist and has been looking for ways to take revenge on them.

HIMAM warns the international community from being drawn into any plans aimed at eliminating UNRWA in an attempt to demolish any international system that contributes to making the lives of Palestinians possible or serves to support the steadfastness of the Palestinians in their land.

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