donors rally behind unrwa as u n seeks to restore confidence

The U.S. envoy to the United Nations urged it to “take quick and decisive action” over Israeli allegations that 12 employees of UNRWA, the main aid agency for Palestinians, had taken part in the Oct. 7 attack.

After days of sharply criticizing the U.N. agency charged with assisting Palestinian civilians, donor countries signaled on Wednesday that they would continue to support the organization under the right conditions and stressed its essential role in delivering lifesaving aid as widespread starvation and disease loom in the war-ravaged Gaza Strip.

At least 12 countries, including the United States and Germany, the two biggest donors, have temporarily suspended funding after the Israeli government circulated allegations that employees of the group, known as UNRWA, participated in the Oct. 7 attacks.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, stressed on Wednesday that the funding pause for the agency was temporary and praised the agency’s work, comments that suggested an appetite could exist among donors to resolve the funding crisis.

“We know that this agency provides lifesaving services under incredibly challenging circumstances in Gaza and it contributes to regional stability and security,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday afternoon.

“For this reason, and for the sake of millions of Palestinian civilians who depend on UNRWA’s services, it is vital that the U.N. take quick and decisive action to hold accountable anyone guilty of heinous actions and to strengthen oversight of UNRWA’s operations and begin to restore donor confidence.”

Smoke rising during an Israeli ground operation in Khan Younis, as seen from a tent camp sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah on Monday.Bassam Masoud/Reuters

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