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UPDATING LIVE: Head of Palestine relief agency due to brief Security Council on Gaza crisis

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1:40 PM – Philippe Lazzarini has said the agency is facing a “deliberate and concerted campaign” to undermine its operations at a time when it’s crucial services – delivered by over 12,000 mostly local staff in Gaza – are most needed.

So far, some 178 UNRWA officials working in Gaza have been killed since Israel’s bombardment and military campaign began last October.

In January, the Israeli Government presented the UN with information accusing 12 UNRWA employees of taking part in the 7 October terror attacks but has yet to provide that evidence to the organisation. UNRWA nevertheless terminated their employment and began an internal investigation.

The UN chief also set up an independent review overseen by a former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna, which is due to report at the end of this week.

Funding crisis

Some 16 countries led by the United States announced a funding freeze for UNRWA – or suspension of future funding – in response to the allegations of collusion but some of those countries have since reversed course and resumed funding.

Mr. Lazzarini wrote to the General Assembly, which provides UNRWA its mandate, and later briefed Member States in March, saying the agency was at “breaking point” across the region and under serious threat of grinding to a halt. 

Israel’s announcement in late March that they would no longer approve any UNRWA food convoys into northern Gaza meant that the clock is ticking “faster towards famine”, he said on X, formerly Twitter.

 

Diplomacy continues in New York

Ambassadors last met on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza on 5 April when they heard top UN aid officials make an appeal for the Security Council to help end the carnage there six months on from the start of the conflict.

The Maltese mission which holds the presidency for the month of April said in a post on X, that there will be a vote on a draft resolution put forward by Algeria this coming Friday. 

The draft is focused on the diplomatic push by some countries to admit Palestine as a full Member State of the UN, in the wake of the crisis in the Middle East.  

Although a special committee on UN membership did not come up with a conclusive recommendation this week, the Algeria draft recommends to the General Assembly that the State of Palestine “be admitted to membership in the United Nations.”

Here’s a reminder of the HIGHLIGHTS from the Council meeting on 25 March which passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire during Ramadan:

  • The UN Security Council adopts a resolution tabled by its 10 non-permanent members (E-10) demanding a ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan, by a vote of 14 in favour to none against, with one abstention (United States)
  • Resolution 2728 also calls for the immediate release of hostages and for ensuring humanitarian access to Gaza
  • The Council rejected a Russia-proposed amendment that would have called for a permanent ceasefire
  • The US ambassador said her delegation “fully supports” the critical objectives of the draft
  • Algeria’s ambassador says the ceasefire will end “the bloodbath”
  • “This must be a turning point,” says the ambassador for the observer State of Palestine
  • The draft’s lack of condemnation of Hamas is “a disgrace”, says Israel’s ambassador

For summaries of UN meetings, visit our colleagues at the UN Meetings Coverage in English and French

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