War in Gaza: UNRWA responds to new Israeli accusations

Relations between the United Nations (UN) and Israel were further strained on Monday March 4, as the mediating countries attempted to impose a truce in Gaza after almost five months of war.

While the UN unveiled its report on " 


 " sexual violence during the Hamas attack on October 7, Israel recalled its ambassador, Gilad Erdan, to protest against 

 the organization's "

silence ."

Furthermore, the head of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, denounced before the General Assembly the repeated attacks by Israel to discredit his agency which has managed Palestinian refugees since 1949. Israel, for its part, accused the UN to employ hundreds of “ 



UNRWA boss Philippe Lazzarini on December 6, 2023 at the organization's headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

(illustration) AP - Bilal Hussein

By: RFI Follow


Read more

Attacks and responses were exchanged at several levels between Israel and the UN on Monday March 4, reports our correspondent in New York,

Carrie Nooten


Since mid-January, Israel has formally accused 12 employees of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Middle East) of having

participated in the attacks of October 7


On Monday, the Israeli military claimed on social media that the agency was in fact harboring “ 

450 terrorists

 ,” and Ambassador Gilad Erdan explained to the General Assembly that there were “ 

a thousand


The boss of Unrwa


Philippe Lazzarini, denounced at the same platform the disinformation campaigns without providing the evidence to the UN.

He also accused Israel of having obtained false confessions under torture from some of his employees.

Also listen to Unrwa plays for its survival

These accusations are a short-term danger for the agency, since they push donors to suspend their funding.

In fact, since the agency was accused by Israel of having among its employees terrorists who participated in the October 7 attacks, its international funding was threatened: major donors such as the United States, Germany, The United Kingdom and Sweden 

had announced that they were suspending their funding to the agency


The European Union announced that it would release 50 million euros for UNRWA a few days ago following an audit of its functioning.

But Philippe Lazzarini also points to a longer-term danger: the desire to undermine UNRWA to obtain its dismantling.


We are in a situation where there is also a political will to try to eliminate the presence of UNRWA.

The representative of Israel repeated this morning (Monday March 4, Editor's note) in the General Assembly what the Prime Minister (Benyamin Netanyahu, Editor's note) has already said, namely that there will be absolutely no role for 'UNRWA 'the day after' in Gaza

 ,” declared Philippe Lazzarini.

The UN's biggest fear is that the idea will begin to gain traction in Washington.

Read alsoUNRWA, an essential role in the Middle East: overview


Receive all the international news directly in your inbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application

Share :

Continue reading on the same themes:

  • UN

  • Israelo-Palestinian conflict

  • Israel

  • Gaza

  • Palestinian territories