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Business News/ News / India/  India-Israel discuss allegations on UN agency
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India-Israel discuss allegations on UN agency

India, which gives $5 million annually to the UNRWA, has expressed concern about the allegations

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres. (Photo: AP)Premium
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres. (Photo: AP)

NEW DELHI:India and Israel are in discussions about Israel’s allegations regarding the involvement of the UN Relief and Welfare Agency’s staff in the 7 October terror attacks, according to two persons aware of the matter.

These accusations were levelled against the UNRWA, which directs aid projects in Palestine, by Israel in January, prompting the US, France, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy and the UK, to suspend funding to the aid agency.

India, which gives $5 million annually to the UNRWA, has expressed concern about the allegations.

According to one of the persons cited above, Israel has asked India to reconsider its funding to the organization. However, India has not indicated its position on the matter so far.

“India is an important development partner of Palestine. We have been extending assistance to them both bilaterally and through multilateral institutions. At the same time, we have a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism," said Randhir Jaiswal, the foreign ministry spokesperson, this week.

Queries mailed to the ministry of external affairs and the Embassy of Israel in New Delhi went unanswered at press time.

“We are deeply concerned about allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7 terror attacks. We also welcome the investigations into the allegations which the UN has announced," Jaiswal told the press here in New Delhi.

After Israel made its allegations, the United Nations ordered an investigation by its Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS). According to the UN, nine individuals have been terminated by the UNRWA.

However, the UN has called on donor countries to continue funding the UNRWA, given the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza. By some estimates, over 26,000 Palestinians have died in the fighting and around two million have been displaced.

“The abhorrent alleged acts of these staff members must have consequences. But the tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many in some of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be penalized," UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said.

“The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met," he argued.

With several nations suspending funding, meeting the growing humanitarian needs in Gaza is expected to become increasingly difficult.

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Published: 05 Feb 2024, 06:05 AM IST
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