WASHINGTON – Funding cuts from the U.S. and other international donors will likely hit the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency operations over the coming month, adding to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and raising difficult questions for Washington about how best to deliver aid as the war drags on, The Wall Street Journal warned.
On Wednesday, a key group of Republican senators demanded the U.S. permanently halt funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, less than a week after the U.S. suspended contributions following allegations that at least 12 of its employees had connections to Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.
At least 10 countries, some of them the agency’s biggest donors, have also suspended funding pending an investigation. Intelligence reports seen by The Wall Street Journal said that around 10% of all of the agency’s Gaza staff have ties to Islamist militant groups.
U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres earlier this week warned that funding levels were insufficient to meet the agency’s needs in February.
UNRWA didn’t respond to requests for comment on details.
The halt in funding threatens to hit Gaza’s 2.2 million Palestinians at a point when food shortages and lack of shelter and medical services are becoming more severe.
More than 85% of the population has been displaced amid Israel’s bombardment and land invasion.
More than 26,000 people, mainly women and children, have been killed in Gaza since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, according to Palestinian authorities. The figure doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants.