Saudi Arabia announces defense of UNRWA against undermining in Gaza

Abdulaziz Al-Wasel, the permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, stressed the Kingdom's firm stance against any endeavours aimed at weakening the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza.

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Amidst the ongoing unrest in the area, marked by Israel's conflict causing substantial casualties and displacement in Gaza, Al-Wasel reiterated Saudi Arabia's dedication to supporting UNRWA. During his address at a briefing in the UN General Assembly, he cautioned against initiatives aimed at eradicating the agency's vital functions and reiterated the Kingdom's unwavering commitment to sustaining its aid efforts.

In light of UNRWA's financial difficulties, Al-Wasel highlighted Saudi Arabia's proactive stance, indicating that additional funding for the agency would soon be announced. Stressing the essential nature of UNRWA's work, he underscored its role in alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people and promoting regional stability. Saudi Arabia condemned what it perceived as an "incitement campaign" orchestrated by the Israeli government to undermine UNRWA, particularly in Gaza, where the conflict has been most intense.

Meanwhile, Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, voiced concerns over concerted efforts to curtail the agency's operations. Israel accused UNRWA of employing "military operatives" from Hamas and other armed groups, further complicating the agency's challenges. Lazzarini emphasised the importance of UNRWA's continued presence, describing it as crucial for delivering humanitarian assistance and maintaining stability in Gaza.

The situation has become increasingly dire for UNRWA, with funding cuts exacerbating its financial strain. Allegations against UNRWA staff have further strained its credibility, prompting calls for internal investigations. Lazzarini warned of the consequences of dismantling UNRWA, highlighting the potential humanitarian crisis and long-term ramifications for the region.

Despite these challenges, UNRWA remains a cornerstone of humanitarian assistance in Gaza, employing thousands and providing vital services to the population. However, tensions persist, with Israel's UN Ambassador accusing the organisation of complicity with militant groups. The ongoing conflict underscores the urgent need for international cooperation to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and support the essential work of UNRWA in the region.

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