Israel has officially submitted a proposal to dissolve the Palestinian Authority

Israel has officially submitted a proposal to dissolve the Palestinian Authority
Israel has officially submitted a proposal to dissolve the Palestinian Authority

Israel has made an official proposal to dissolve the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA. This was reported on Sunday by the server of The Guardian newspaper, referring to its sources from the United Nations.

Israel proposes that some UNRWA personnel in the Gaza Strip be transferred to other UN bodies. An entirely new agency could also be created to help the Gaza Strip, where the humanitarian situation has worsened significantly since fighting between the Israeli army and the Palestinian Hamas movement began in October.

According to the British newspaper, the proposal for the abolition of UNRWA was handed over to UN representatives about a week ago by the Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli army, Herci Halevi. The document was then put on the table by UN Secretary-General António Guterres this week. Relations between Israel and UNRWA have been very bad for several months, with the military refusing to cooperate with the agency.

At the end of January, UNRWA reported on Israeli claims that 12 of its staff were directly involved in a terrorist attack led by the Hamas movement on Israeli territory on October 7 last year. Later, the Israeli army stated that, according to intelligence, hundreds of Palestinians work in UNRWA who are members of the organizations Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, against which Israel is fighting.

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The document handed over by Israel, according to the newspaper, contains a so far vague description of what should happen to UNRWA staff or structures in the Gaza Strip. According to the proposal, several hundred UNRWA employees could be transferred to another UN agency or to a completely new agency. The numbers could gradually increase.

It could worsen the humanitarian disaster

However, such a fundamental reorganization in the midst of fighting could have another negative impact on the poor humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, some experts warn.

Israel has been making it clear for several months that it does not want UNRWA to operate in the Gaza Strip. Israel did not inform about its proposal to lead the office, which has also been active since 1950 in other Palestinian territories or in Lebanon and Jordan. UNRWA is thus completely cut off from debates about its future, noted The Guardian.

UNRWA has a key role in the distribution of humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip and in the provision of other services such as education. The fate of the office is decided by the UN General Assembly. However, the actions of donors who finance the operation of the office also have a great influence.

Following the publication of information about the alleged involvement of UNRWA staff in the 7 October attacks, a number of donors suspended funding in late January, putting the agency in economic trouble. Many countries have reconsidered their decision in recent weeks. However, the United States, which was one of the largest donors, did not renew its funding.

The Israel–Palestine War and Historical Context

The article is in Czech

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