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Israel accused a handful UNRWA employees of taking part in the October 7 attacks and also claimed that 10% of UNRWA employees in Gaza were 'affiliated' with Hamas. As a consequence,

Countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland have suspended their funding of the agency in the wake of the allegations.

However, a recent intelligence report by Israel's main international backer, the USA, has cast doubts on those claims. It has emerged that Israel has not shared their claimed evidence with the US. US intelligence assessment is that the first accusation, that a handful employees participated in October 7th, cannot be verified with current information. They assessed the second accusation, that 10% of UNRWA are affiliated with Hamas, to be unlikely. Moreover the report by the US intelligence also notes that there is a possibility that the allegations were distortions driven by Israeli dislike of the UN:

In addition, the report notes Israel’s dislike towards the UNRWA, two sources familiar with it told the Journal. “There is a specific section that mentions how Israeli bias serves to mischaracterize much of their assessments on UNRWA and says this has resulted in distortions,”

Given this assessment of the accusations by the National Intelligence Council, have any countries that suspended funding to the UNRWA taken the decision to restart?

Edit:

Further info has now come out claiming that the allegations were based on testimony provided by UNRWA employees under torture and duress.


Update: Finland has become the latest country to reinstate funding, stating that there is insufficient evidence of there being any connection between UNRWA and Hamas.

Update: the independent report into Israel's allegations, led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna, has now been released. It more or less entirely debunks the claims, and even debunks previous false allegations that antisemitic material was being taught in UNRWA schools. On the back of the report it can be expected that more countries will restart funding. Unfortunately, the USA will not be amonsgt them as the US Congress has passed a law banning funding until 2025.

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    @NoDataDumpNoContribution As per a Reuters article: "Countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland have suspended their funding of the agency in the wake of the allegations."
    – whoisit
    Commented Feb 25 at 8:09
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    Btw, not coming from the PoV that throttling aid, or defunding UNRWA, for all its flaws the main provider of aid, is a good thing. Only from the PoV that this Q misrepresents what is known and not known about those UNRWA allegations. Commented Feb 25 at 17:03
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    @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica, don't know where you get that from. From my link: "the intelligence report, released last week, assessed with “low confidence” that a handful of staff had participated in the attack, indicating that it considered the accusations to be credible though it could not independently confirm their veracity". That clearly doesn't mean that handful participating is true.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Feb 25 at 21:00
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    It means that they don't know. For the 10% accusation, the link clearly states that the Intelligence report considers it unlikely to be true. I've edited the question to make this distinction clearer.
    – Ben Cohen
    Commented Feb 25 at 21:01
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    This is a reasonable question. Can those of you who voted to close it explain yourselves? Commented Feb 26 at 12:46

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Insofar, no, not that I'm aware of. But some European countries have actually increased their contributions, although to be fair, these were relatively small to begin with.

E.g. Slovenia announced on Feb 24 they'd be increasing their contribution by 0.5M euros, and provide extra direct assistance by a similar sum. (The Turkish press has also highlighted this.) The announcements don't mentions the allegations at all, so it's unclear if the US leaks are correlated in any way.

Ireland also announced 20 M euros funding on Feb 15 (which is about par with their 2023 contributions of 18 million). That announcement was about two weeks after the allegations caused various European countries to suspend their contributions at the end of January.

On Feb 9, Norway announced they were maintaining their regular contribution, but that "there may be additional funds from Norway to UNRWA throughout the year".


In case someone wants to watch these for further developments, the full list of countries that did suspend their contributions, according to al-Jazeera (updated on Feb 17):

Australia, Austria, Canada, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.


Update. It looks like Canada might be the first to restore funding. They said it was due to direct assurances from an "interim report from the UN investigation" rather than something in the press though.

Canada will restore funding to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians, weeks after the agency, known as UNRWA, lost hundreds of millions of dollars in support following Israeli allegations against some of its staffers in Gaza.

Canada has been reassured after receiving an interim report from the UN investigation of Israel’s allegations, said Ahmed Hussen, Canada's minister of international development.

The Canadian government is due to contribute €16.8 million to UNRWA in April and did not miss a payment as a result of the pause.

Interestingly, a Canadian minister now says that the US administration lobbied Canada behind the scenes to resume the funding, even while the US can't do so due to deadlock in Congress on that.

In the meantime, a few other countries have announced resuming their funding of UNRWA, at least partially: Australia, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

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Germany just announced that they would resume funding UNRWA, citing indeed that Israel has failed to provide sufficient evidence for their accusations against UNRWA.

Guardian based on Reuters

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However, a recent intelligence report by Israel's main international backer, the USA, has cast doubts on those claims. It has emerged that Israel has not shared their claimed evidence with the US. US intelligence assessment is that the first accusation, that a handful employees participated in October 7th, cannot be verified with current information. They assessed the second accusation, that 10% of UNRWA are affiliated with Hamas, to be unlikely.

The Q. here somewhat misrepresents what the quoted article says. Regarding the employees involved in the attacks the Guardian article also says:

According to the Wall Street Journal, the intelligence report, released last week, assessed with “low confidence” that a handful of staff had participated in the attack, indicating that it considered the accusations to be credible though it could not independently confirm their veracity. [...] Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, said in January that Israel’s accusations were “highly, highly credible”. Nine of the staff accused were sacked by the head of agency, who said he followed “reverse due process” in doing so. Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner general of the UNRWA, told a press conference in Jerusalem earlier in February that he had not investigated the evidence before the firing.

The report also points that UNRWA does coordinate with Hamas:

It cast doubt, however, on accusations that the UN agency was collaborating with Hamas in a wider way. The Journal said the report mentioned that although the UNRWA does coordinate with Hamas in order to deliver aid and operate in the region, there was a lack of evidence to suggest it partnered with the group.

This coordination might not be seen as a problem by the UN, which does not designate Hamas as a terrorist organization, but it is problematic for the countries that do proscribe the Islamist movement.

Countries that resumed and didn't resume funding
The UN own investigation (no surprise) didn't find any fault with UNRWA and some nations indeed resumed funding, as reported, e.g., by the BBC:

This was echoed by Norway's Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide, who hailed countries including Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Japan and Sweden for already resuming their funding.

The US, UK, Italy, Netherlands, Austria and Lithuania have not yet done so.

"In terms of our funding of UNRWA, that is still suspended," White House security spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday.
"We're gonna have to see real progress here before that gets changed."

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