European Commission to continue its aid to UNRWA and increase emergency support for Palestine News
© WikiMedia (Sébastien Bertrand)
European Commission to continue its aid to UNRWA and increase emergency support for Palestine

The European Commission (EC) announced Friday that it has increased support for Palestinians by allocating an extra EUR 68 million through international partners, adding to the EUR 82 million already designated for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in 2024, totaling EUR 150 million. Additionally, EUR 125 million of humanitarian aid for Palestinians in 2024 has been allocated, with EUR 16 million contracted on Friday.

The EC, in a press release, clarified that it reviewed its funding decision for UNRWA in light of serious allegations implicating UNRWA staff in the October 7 attacks. Furthermore, the EC considered actions the UN took and required commitments from UNRWA. The press release also welcomes the UN’s investigation and an independent review group to ensure neutrality and address breaches. It further informed that the UNRWA has agreed to review its staff, launch an EU-appointed audit, and strengthen its internal investigation department. Therefore, with mutual understanding confirmed, the EC has decided to proceed with the aid.

President of the EC Ursula von der Leyen added:

We stand by the Palestinian people in Gaza and elsewhere in the region. Innocent Palestinians should not have to pay the price for the crimes of terrorist group Hamas. They face terrible conditions, putting their lives at risk because of a lack of access to sufficient food and other basic needs. That is why we are reinforcing our support to them this year by a further EUR 68 million.

This decision follows a Wednesday announcement, which stated that a hold was put on additional funding to UNRWA until the end of February due to allegations regarding staff involvement in the October 7 attacks. Furthermore, it stated future funding decisions would depend on the outcome of a UN investigation, with expectations for UNRWA to agree to an audit by EU-appointed experts and strengthen internal investigation processes. A review of staff involvement in the attacks was also anticipated.

Several countries, including the US and Canada, have suspended their funding for the UNRWA after reports emerged that 12 UNRWA staff members were part of the October 7 Hamas offensive on Israel and that even more members had links in one way or another to the organization which has been designated as a terrorist outfit by several countries, including the US and Canada, and the EU.