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FILE PHOTO: Displaced Palestinians wait to receive United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) aid, in Rafah
Displaced Palestinians wait to receive United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) aid, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 7. Image: Reuters/Mohammed Salem
politics

Japan lifts funding suspension to Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA

24 Comments
By John Geddie and Yoshifumi Takemoto

Japan on Tuesday said it will lift its suspension of funding to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) as the relief body works to regain trust after an allegation that some of its staff were involved in the Oct 7 attack on Israel.

Japan, the sixth-biggest donor to the agency, and 15 other countries paused about $450 million in funding following the allegation by Israel in January, throwing the agency's operations in the war-torn Gaza Strip into turmoil.

Countries including Australia and Canada have since restored funding to the UNRWA, the largest relief body operating in Gaza, which has been besieged by Israel since the attack.

Japan's Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, who met UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini in Tokyo last week, said the agency's role in addressing the Gaza crisis was "indispensable" even as it works to improve governance and manage risks.

"Japan will lift the moratorium on its financial contributions to UNRWA and provide assistance while ensuring and confirming the appropriateness of Japan's funds," Kamikawa told reporters, adding that about $35 million of originally planned funding was ready to be released.

A senior foreign ministry official later told a press briefing that Japan could not comment on the veracity of Israel's allegations due to an ongoing investigation by the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services.

The UNRWA fired some staff following the allegations. It later said some employees released into Gaza from Israeli detention reported having been pressured by Israeli authorities into falsely stating that staff took part in the Oct 7 attack, according to a report by the agency dated February.

A separate review of the UNRWA's activities and neutrality led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna is expected to publish its final report later this month.

© Thomson Reuters 2024.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

24 Comments

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Be careful who you choose for your friends, Japan.

-18 ( +3 / -21 )

Good to see it restored. But a big shame that they quit the funding in the first place, only based on an israeli allegation.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Personally i feel Japan dithering in an effort to provide assistance based on allegations was inappropriate

Because obviously innocent Palestinian civilians need assistance regardless of what Hamas did.

There's always some sort of issues when it comes to Japanese government providing assistance , whether it's a domestic disaster , an international crisis or something else.

Japan needs a reliable government and one that the international community can depend on to do what they say , say what they mean and do what they say.

Currently Kishida his leadership isn't doing what the above paragraph describes

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Japan, the sixth-biggest donor

Can't it find enough poor Japanese in dire need of help in Japan ?

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

seriously, shame to UNRWA for co-operate with the terrorist. I really wonder what is inside their mind for giving shelter / support to the terrorist! never forget the blood is on their hands

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

seriously, shame to UNRWA for co-operate with the terrorist. I really wonder what is inside their mind for giving shelter / support to the terrorist! never forget the blood is on their hands - Mark

UNWRA has a screening process for all its members and shares a list of all its members with Israel.

Israel issued a dossier claiming UNRWA members participated in the Oct 7th attacks, conveniently on the same day that the International Court of Justice handed down its ruling that Israel was committing plausible genocide.

The dossier obtained by multiple media outlets contains a list of names and accusations but no evidence to substantiate its claims.

It's up to Israel to prove its claims and take responsibility for the greatest man-made famine in modern history.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

""after an allegation that some of its staff were involved in the Oct 7 attack""

Allegation is the key word, it was a LIE by Netanyahu and his backers, and Japan just followed the U.S. and others without even considering the impact on the Children of Gaza who have NOTHING to do with this Ugly War.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Be careful who you choose for your friends, Japan. - Ass

I think siding with the U.N., the International Court of Justice and human rights organisation's across the globe is more prudent than befriending a belligerent state like Israel and Netanyahu and his extremist government.

Netanyahu's political career ends the moment his genocide comes to a close.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Not sure what took Japan this long to revert its terrible decision. But better late than never.

The IDF and the Zionist regime that rules Israel are both liars and war criminals of the worst kind. The entire World is watching.

Stop the apartheid state, stop the genocide!!

8 ( +11 / -3 )

It's up to Israel to prove its claims and take responsibility for the greatest man-made famine in modern history

you want to have prove, go and look at the UNRWA building underground, it is basically terrorist's HQ. UNRWA staff are providing them the electricity at the same time!!! can you believe this kind of thing happening right under the sunlight? enough propaganda and baseless lie, just look at the data processing centre underground, it is 101% solid prove! what else do you need? dont tell me Israel dig the tunnel build the center, and blame it on the innocent beloved terrorist

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Sometimes organizations become so corrupted that the only thing to do is to dismantle them and start from scratch. UNRWA looks like one of those organizations.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Substitute IDF for UNRWA and I'm right with you @proxy.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The Palestinians are the most defenseless people on the planet. They need urgent help which UNRWA can provide. Good move by all countries to resume this aid.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

UNRWA, the organization that trained and produced 100 terrorists that Hamas lists as martyrs, will receive funding from Japan. Let that sink in. Japan is helping to support a group that Hamas supports.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Hopefully Hamas will surrender sooner rather than later so this conflict can end

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Is that what is happening in Gaza? The zionist state is “besieging” Gaza.

Yes, that’s exactly what happened

What a lovely way to describe the mass murder and ongoing genocide there by the terrorist colonizer’s.

What genocide? Nothing that’s happening in Gaza even comes close to matching the criteria to be considered a “genocide”.

In WWII the german state besieged all the german jews. Let’s apply besieged to all past and future genocides, perfect.

Are you actually comparing the holocaust to what’s happening in Gaza? There was a three month period in 1942 where the Germans killed 1.3 million Jews. What’s happening in Gaza isn’t even comparable

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

There is no question after the incidents that unfolded yesterday that Israel has been intentionally targeting innocent civilians, hospitals, aid workers, you name it, they kill it. They shoot their own hostages. Israel is a disgrace.

All nations should resume aid. They should double, triple, quadruple it, and use their armed forces to deliver it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is your only avenue of getting thing done,if I want too get something done,as an American I have the power to get it done,not like you

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

There is no question after the incidents that unfolded yesterday that Israel has been intentionally targeting innocent civilians, hospitals, aid workers, you name it, they kill it. They shoot their own hostages. Israel is a disgrace.

Israel must be really bad at killing then. If they’re intentionally targeting civilians and have only managed to kill 24,000 in a 6 month period Israel must be the most incompetent military ever.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Israel must be really bad at killing then. If they’re intentionally targeting civilians and have only managed to kill 24,000 in a 6 month period Israel must be the most incompetent military ever.

Have you read the reports abut what happened to the foreign aid workers? Did you see how they bombed the first car, then the aid workers contacted the IDF to tell them they had been hit. They then tried to escape to another vehicle in the convoy, which was then struck. They did the same and the final vehicle was struck. The aid agency had given prior notice of their route to the IDF. They had the aid agency's name on the roof of the vehicles. These aid agency workers were intentionally targeted. Just like the journalists. Just like the doctors and nurses. Just like the women, children, Israeli hostages, Gazan churches, mosques hospitals, and schools.

October 7th was brutal, and unforgivable. This meticulously planned inhumanity on the part of Israel is much much worse.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Have you read the reports abut what happened to the foreign aid workers? Did you see how they bombed the first car, then the aid workers contacted the IDF to tell them they had been hit. They then tried to escape to another vehicle in the convoy, which was then struck. They did the same and the final vehicle was struck. The aid agency had given prior notice of their route to the IDF. They had the aid agency's name on the roof of the vehicles. These aid agency workers were intentionally targeted. Just like the journalists. Just like the doctors and nurses. Just like the women, children, Israeli hostages, Gazan churches, mosques hospitals, and schools.

This doesn’t prove at all that Israel has been deliberately and intentionally targeting civilians. We don’t know all the details yet, but one incident isn’t indicative of the entire Israeli operation.

Answer me this: if Israel is intentionally and deliberately attacking civilians, why haven’t more civilians been killed? According to released projections about 1/3 of those killed in Gaza so far have been Hamas militants. Do you believe 1/3 of all Gazans are Hamas militants?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The IDF air attack on "marked" aid vehicles of the World Central Kitchen killed seven, including three British volunteers. Three vehicles were struck separately in three aimed attacks. They were taking aid from a second ship.

It has now withdrawn from Gaza. Netanyahu's reply was, "It happens in war".

The US expresses outrage.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Answer me this: if Israel is intentionally and deliberately attacking civilians, why haven’t more civilians been killed? According to released projections about 1/3 of those killed in Gaza so far have been Hamas militants. Do you believe 1/3 of all Gazans are Hamas militants?

I have a hard time accepting the other 2/3 of deaths that are non-Hamas civilians. Civilians should never be targets.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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