Investigation report: Israel has not provided evidence for the terrorist accusations against UNRWA

The independent investigation was commissioned by the UN and has been led by France’s former foreign minister Catherine Colonna.

British The Guardian has obtained access to the report, which calls for Israeli evidence of allegations that UNRWA staff participated in the October 7 attack on Israel and may be linked to militant Palestinian groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The report indicates, among other things, that UNRWA has continuously shared information about its employees with Israel, and that the Israeli authorities “since 2011 have never expressed concerns related to any of the names on the list”.

– To date, the Israeli authorities have not presented evidence to support the accusations, or responded to letters from UNRWA in March and April requesting names and evidence that could enable UNRWA to open its own investigation, it says.

Stopped support

The Israeli accusations were made at the same time that South Africa summoned Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) with accusations that it is committing genocide in Gaza.

The accusation against UNRWA caused a number of donor countries to freeze their aid to the UN organization, but most except the United States have since resumed their aid.

Britain has previously stated that it would await the Colonna report before resuming support, which is expected to happen now.

Norwegian participation

The Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Norway has, together with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Sweden and the Institute for Human Rights in Denmark, participated in the work on the Colonna report, and a more detailed background material from them is now being sent to the UN, writes The Guardian.

UNRWA has around 32,000 employees, 13,000 of them in the Gaza Strip. The Colonna report emphasizes that the UN organization “is absolutely irreplaceable and indispensable” for the Palestinians’ development and also functions as “a humanitarian lifeline”.

– The review shows that UNRWA has established a significant number of mechanisms and procedures to ensure that humanitarian principles are adhered to, with an emphasis on the principle of neutrality. They have developed a better approach to neutrality than other aid organisations, the Colonna report states.

Lifeline

UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomes the Colonna report.

– The Secretary-General encourages everyone to actively support UNRWA, as it is a lifeline for Palestinian refugees in the region, says a statement.

According to Guterres, an action plan will now be drawn up to implement the recommendations given in the report.

The UN has launched a separate investigation into twelve former UNRWA employees who, according to Israel, participated in the attack on 7 October, but this investigation has not yet been concluded.

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2024-04-24 02:40:34

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