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Italy Restores UNRWA Funding After Debunking Israeli Allegations

Italy restored UNRWA funding after an independent review found no evidence linking the agency to the October 7 attack.

Italy announced it would restore funding for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), months after suspending aid over Israeli allegations linking UN staff to the October 7 attack.

Rome joined several Western donors in resuming aid after an independent review, led by French former foreign minister Catherine Colonna, found that Israel had not provided any evidence to support its claims.

In response to the October 7 attack, Israel launched a brutal military offensive, resulting in the deaths of over 35,000 Palestinians. The attack, claimed by Hamas, killed up to 1,100 people and led to about 250 being taken captive inside Israel.

The Palestinian enclave remained in ruins after nearly eight months of Israel’s war.

Most key donors, including the United States and the European Union, resumed funding due to the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza exacerbated by Israel’s restrictions on aid delivery.

“Italy decided to resume financing specific projects for Palestinian refugees, but only after rigorous controls ensuring that no funds support terrorism,” Antonio Tajani told Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa during a meeting on Saturday.

Tajani informed the visiting premier that the Italian government arranged new funding for the Palestinian population, totalling 35 million euros ($38m).

“Of this, five million will be allocated to UNRWA,” he said in a statement, with the remaining 30 million euros allocated to Italy’s “Food for Gaza” initiative in coordination with other UN aid agencies.

Mustafa also held talks with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who conveyed that Rome supported efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza, the release of Israeli captives held by Hamas, and improved humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

The UNRWA, which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since January when Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of involvement in the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. This led many nations, including top donor the US, to abruptly suspend funding to the agency, threatening its aid delivery efforts in Gaza and leaving millions at risk of hunger and possible death.

Created in 1949, the UNRWA employs about 30,000 people in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

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