Israel’s attacks on the agency are political: UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini

Al Jazeera English

Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says attacks on the agency are primarily based on the “objective to strip the Palestinians” of their status as refugees. “This is the reason why there are pushes today for UNRWA not to be present anymore in Gaza, but … we are also under pressure when it comes to [operations] in Jerusalem and the West Bank,” Lazzarini said at a news conference. Lazzarini called on members of the UN Security Council for an independent investigation on the “blatant disregard … of UN premises, UN staff and UN operations in the Gaza Strip”, noting that about 180 UNRWA employees have been killed in the Strip since October 7. Lazzarini has welcomed the results of an independent review on the agency that were announced on Monday. The review on the neutrality of UNRWA, headed by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, was ordered after allegations made by Israel in January that some of the agency’s staff may have participated in the October 7 Hamas attacks. The report noted that Israel had yet to provide evidence for its allegations that some UNRWA staff were members of “terrorist” groups. Lazzarini told reporters “we are committed” to implementing the report’s recommendations. The agency already has a number of mechanisms “to deal with neutrality issues, far ahead than other UN agencies”, UNRWA’s commissioner-general said. “We need to be extremely vigilant, and we can always do more,” he added. Lazzarini said his team is now working on a “response plan” to ensure “partners are aware” of the measures being taken in line with the report’s recommendations. Subscribe to our channel Follow us on Twitter Find us on Facebook Check our website: Download AJE Mobile App: #UNRWA #UN #UNRWAreport #CatherineColonna #Palestine #Gaza #GazaAirRaids #GazaAirStrikes #GazaDisplacedPeople #GazaUnderAttack #GazaHumanitarianCrisis #GazaHumanitarianAid #Israel #IsraelHamasWar #GazaWar #IsraelWar #IsraelPalestineWar #IsraelHamasWar #IsraelGazaWar #GazaBombardment #GazaRefugeeCamps #Rafah #PalestinianDisplacedPeople #PalestinianRefugees #UNRWAfunding

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