WHO Calls Israeli Claims against UNRWA A ‘Distraction’ amid Gaza War

WHO Calls Israeli Claims against UNRWA A ‘Distraction’ amid Gaza War

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The World Health Organization (WHO) called on nations to maintain their funding for the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), dismissing Israeli accusations against the organization as a "distraction" from the ongoing war in Gaza.

"The discussion right now is much of a distraction of what is going on every day, every hour in Gaza," said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier during a UN press briefing in Geneva.

Lindmeier's remarks come in response to recent claims by Tel Aviv, accusing some UNRWA staff of involvement in the Hamas operation against Israel on October 7.

While acknowledging the need for an investigation into these allegations, Lindmeier emphasized that they currently divert attention from addressing the critical issues affecting an entire population's access to essentials such as food, water, and electricity.

He further pointed out that the allegations distract from the "continuous shelling" of Palestinians in Gaza, including designated safe areas, as well as attacks on "shelters, schools, hospitals."

Twelve countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Canada, Finland, Australia, the UK, Netherlands, the US, France, Austria, and Japan, have suspended funding for UNRWA, an organization established in 1949 to assist Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.

Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh condemned Israel's allies for cutting funding to UNRWA amid the Paris talks. He accused these countries of supporting the occupation through starvation and siege, contrary to the ICJ's recent interim ruling to increase humanitarian assistance significantly in light of Israel's actions in Gaza. Haniyeh stated that Israel is targeting UNRWA because the ICJ ruling heavily relied on damning figures and testimonies provided by the agency.

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