[Michigan, January 30, 2024]:

The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) is deeply disturbed by the news that several donor nations have suspended their funding of UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). We condemn this irresponsible and callous action and call for an immediate restoration for the direly needed funding.

It is unconscionable that UNRWA donors would suspend funding UNRWA at the time when Gaza is experiencing an ongoing genocide. This genocide has been recognized by the World Court. The Court has ordered Israel, among other things, to allow food and other supplies to enter Gaza. There are millions of Palestinian refugees that rely on UNRWA for survival. It is galling to have the Court order Israel to allow food and have countries that preach human rights and international law cut the very funding that allows UNRWA to deliver the food to the Gazans.

Israel, even President Biden acknowledged, has been bombing Gaza indiscriminately. For more than a hundred days, Israel has been starving Gazans by hardly allowing any food to enter Gaza. Several UNRWA facilities have been bombarded and destroyed. Israel has killed one hundred fifty UNRWA staff. This is the biggest number of UN losses of any conflict in UN history. Israel has been starving and killing UN staffers and their families. We expect a universal uproar over that but instead we find a number of self-proclaimed enlightened countries punishing the victim instead of holding Israel accountable for its genocide that has not spared UN employees and their families.

The pretext the donors are pushing forward is that several UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7 attack on Israel. UNRWA has thousands of employees and serves millions of beneficiaries. The actions of a few, and that is at this point an Israeli self- serving allegation, cannot be attributed to the whole.

Also, UNRWA has always been a target of the most zealous Zionists. They see UNRWA as a Palestinian symbol that reminds the world that the birth of Israel was at the expense of Palestinians who were forced out of their homes. In fact, at least 70% of the Gazans are refugees of 1948 war and their descendants. The campaign against UNRWA did not start with the genocide and will not end when the genocide ends.

“There is no justification whatsoever to this suspension of funding to UNRWA,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “By design or by default, cutting the finding of UNRWA in the middle of a genocide is aiding and abetting Israel in its genocide in Gaza,” concluded Hamad.

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