Italy announces that it will resume funding from the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees

Italy announces that it will resume funding from the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees

On Saturday, the head of Italian diplomacy, Antonio Tajani, announced the resumption of funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), after a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa in Rome. Antonio said in a statement: “I informed Muhammad Mustafa that the government planned new funding for the Palestinian population in a total amount of 35 million euros (…) five of which will be allocated to UNRWA.”

Muhammad Mustafa, who made his first trip to Europe since his appointment to this position last March by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, subsequently met with the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni. Antonio Tajani stressed that “Italy decided to resume funding specific projects aimed at helping Palestinian refugees, but only after strict controls that ensure that not a single cent is used to support terrorism.”

He highlighted the “problems associated with neutrality.”

The other 30 million euros are allocated to the “Food for Gaza” initiative launched by Italy in cooperation with United Nations agencies, according to the press release. UNRWA, which coordinates almost all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since January, when Israel accused dozens of its 13,000 employees in Gaza of involvement in a Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

This led several countries, including the United States, a major donor, to abruptly suspend funding to the agency, threatening its efforts to deliver aid to Gaza, although several countries have since resumed operations.

An independent review of UNRWA, led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, highlighted some “problems associated with the neutrality” of the agency, but stressed that Israel had not yet provided evidence for its main accusations. The agency was established in 1949, and employs about 30,000 people in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

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