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After The ICJ Ruled That Israel’s Genocide In Gaza Is Plausible, Israel Accused 12 UN Workers In Palestine For Working For Hamas

Even though Israel’s accusations have not been verified, several western countries immediately suspended funding to the UNRWA, the main humanitarian agency in Gaza.

After the ICJ found a plausible case of genocide, Israel accused 12 UN workers in Gaza of working for Hamas.

Palestinians receive bags of flour at the United Nations Relief UNRWA
Palestinians receive bags of flour at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) distribution center in the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel made the accusations against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees – also known as UNRWA – around the same time the International Court of Justice began its hearing on South Africa’s case of Israel committing genocide in Gaza.

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Palestinians fleeing Israeli attacks take shelter at UNRWA school in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 14, 2023. (Photo by Doaa Albaz/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Even though Israel’s accusations have not been verified, several western countries immediately suspended funding to the UNRWA after the allegations came to light on Jan. 26, the same day the ICJ ordered Israel to take all measures to prevent genocide in Gaza.

UNRWA deliver food to gaza
Flour is being distributed in Khan Yunis by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA to Gazans who had difficulty finding bread due to Israeli attacks in Gaza. (Photo by Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu via Getty Images)

UNRWA is the main humanitarian agency in Gaza, and the only one that has been allowed in to deliver aid since Israel began its war that has killed more than 27,000 Palestinians.

palestinian people reach out for food UNRWA
Palestinian people holding empty bowls try to reach out for food distributed by volunteers at donation point as Israeli attacks continue in Rafah, Gaza. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)

An estimated one million Palestinians in Gaza are now seeking shelter at UNRWA schools and centers after being forced from their homes.

israel attack gaza UNRWA
Palestinians perform an evening prayer on a backyard of a school, affiliated to United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), as the Israeli attacks continues in Khan Yunis, Gaza. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The countries that cut funding – including the US, UK, Germany, Japan and Sweden – had been the main source of the agency’s funds.

local help un staff israel gaza UNRWA
Locals help UN staff carry a wounded Palesinian man reportedly shot by Israel forces while leaving Gaza City through the Zeitoun district on its southern entrance. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

UNRWA said that two of the accused staff had already been killed by Israel in the war, one person was still being identified, but it has fired the other nine and launched an investigation.

Philippe Lazzarini UNRWA
Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) holds press conference in Jerusalem. (Photo by Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu via Getty Images)

On Monday Jan. 30, Israel said it had shared a document of its “evidence” with the US, but it did not share it with the UN, according to Al Jazeera.

UNRWA served food palestine children gaza
Palestinians including children are served food by United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) officials as they took refuge in UNRWA camp to flee Israeli attacks in Khan Yunis, Gaza. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

There are now differing reports about the actual number of the staff Israel has accused, with later reports saying it was only four workers.

Palestinian patients UNRWA health center
DEIR AL BALAH, GAZA – JANUARY 21: Palestinian patients gather at the UNRWA health center to receive medicines as the Israeli attacks continue in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza on January 21, 2024. (Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

12 workers is just 0.04% of the 30,000 people employed by the UNRWA.

palestine israel UNRWA hand out flour rations
Workers of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) hand out flour rations and other supplies to people at an UNRWA warehouse in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Rights groups such as Amnesty International slammed the western countries’ decision to cut the funding that is supporting 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza over the alleged crimes of just 12 people.

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Palestinian men and children gather for a demonstration in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo by AFP)
Palestinian families take refuge logistics base UNRWA
Palestinian families take refuge in the logistics base of UNRWA and in the makeshift tents they have built around the storage as they struggle with cold weather in Rafah, Gaza. (Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Others said that the countries would never defund an entire university if a janitor was found to be a terrorist or an entire police force if a member turned out to be a white supremacist.

UNRWA distribute flour to Palestinian families
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) distribute flour to Palestinian families fled their homes and took refuge in UNRWA schools as Israeli attacks continue in Rafah, Gaza. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Countries that have not pulled aid, such as Norway, also pointed out that it is difficult to have zero risk in an organization of 30,000 people, urging other countries not to add to the collective punishment of Palestinians.

demonstration in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip UNRWA
Palestinian men and children gather for a demonstration in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo by AFP)

A UN expert said that the decision to suspend funding could violate the Genocide Convention and defies the ICJ’s ruling, which called on Israel to allow aid into Gaza.

An aerial view of destroyed UNRWA Palestinian School gaza
An aerial view of destroyed UNRWA Palestinian School following Israeli attacks hit Jabalia Camp in Jabalia, Gaza. (Photo by Mahmoud Sabbah/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Israel has repeatedly targeted UN facilities in Gaza since Oct. 7, killing 152 UNRWA workers, the most killed in the entire history of the UN.

Palestinian men and children gather for a demonstration in Rafah UNRWA
Palestinian men and children gather for a demonstration in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, calling for continued international support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. (Photo by AFP)

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