Middle East, Europe

Germany backs UN Palestinian aid agency amid Israeli criticism

UNRWA makes 'very important contribution to humanitarian care of people in Palestinian areas of West Bank as well as Gaza,' says Foreign Ministry spokesperson

Oliver Towfigh Nia  | 20.11.2023 - Update : 20.11.2023
Germany backs UN Palestinian aid agency amid Israeli criticism


In the face of Israeli criticism, Germany on Monday expressed support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees or UNRWA in Gaza.

The UN agency makes a "very important contribution to the humanitarian care of the people in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank as well as Gaza and is therefore also an important partner for our humanitarian aid and for the international organizations that provide it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Christian Wagner told a press briefing in Berlin.

Wagner was reacting to remarks by Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, who criticized the agency on Sunday, saying: "Instead of funneling money to rebuild Gaza or to the failed UNRWA, the international community can assist in the costs of resettlement, helping the people of Gaza build new lives in their new host countries.”

Dozens of UNRWA staffers have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 as a result of Israeli forces' relentless attacks.

The UNRWA is the primary UN agency operating in the Gaza Strip, where its schools currently host about 700,000 displaced Palestinians seeking refuge from Israeli attacks.

The Gaza Strip has been under heavy bombardment since the Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise offensive against Israel on Oct. 7.

Since Israel started bombarding Gaza on Oct. 7, at least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, including over 9,000 women and children, and more than 30,000 others have been injured, according to the latest figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques, and churches, have also been damaged or destroyed in Israel’s relentless air and ground attacks on the besieged enclave.

An Israeli blockade has also cut Gaza off from fuel, electricity, and water supplies, and reduced aid deliveries to a small trickle.

The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, based on official figures.

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