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United Nations, attacks, Unrwa, neutrality, Palestinians, status, refugees, Philippe Lazzarini

Israel uses neutrality as a pretext, says UNRWA chief

United Nations, April 24.- The attacks against UNRWA are not motivated by issues of neutrality, but rather by stripping Palestinians of their refugee status, warned the commissioner general of that organization, Philippe Lazzarini.

That is the reason for the pressure for the UNRWA (United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees) not to be present in Gaza, he assured in statements to the media in reference to the accusations disclosed by Israel to link several of its members with the group. Hamas.

However, he added, it is not just about Gaza, we are also under a number of pressures when it comes to Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Lazzarini ratified the neutral position of the Agency he directs one day after an independent investigation confirmed that its work has more efficient methods than other United Nations agencies or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The review, led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, determined that UNRWA has ample tools to ensure impartiality in its work, while maintaining its irreplaceable and indispensable role in the region.

Due to the complexity of the environment in which we operate, we must be extremely vigilant and we can always do more, the veteran humanitarian worker added, referring to the recommendations detailed in the review and accepted by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

However, the commissioner considered a healing process essential to achieve peace in a conflict that he considered dehumanized.

At the same time, he called for a Security Council investigation into Israel's blatant disregard for UN operations in Gaza after the deaths of some 180 of its employees.

According to the head of UNRWA, about 160 Agency premises were damaged or completely destroyed and at least 400 people died when they sought the protection of the UN flag.

The investigation must have responsibility, in order not to establish a new standard in future conflict situations, Lazzarini considered.

The UN has defended the neutrality of UNRWA in the face of the discredit campaign by the Israeli authorities, who for their part are pressing to end its operations.

The Agency has been working since 1950 with the objective of deploying aid programs and direct works for Palestinian refugees, a mandate granted and extended until 2026 by the UN General Assembly.

Israel's accusations, disclosed last January, caused a pause in funding from major donors at a key time to address needs such as food, water, shelter and medicine for civilians in Gaza.

Since then, many countries have resumed their collaboration, while others, including the United States, have not. (Text and photo: PL)

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