Israel against UNRWA: What will happen to humanitarian aid to Palestine?

Newspaper the new York Times A report was issued on January 29 by israeli intelligence Charges against 12 employees of the United Nations Relief and Reconstruction Agency (UNRWA) alleged involvement Hamas attacks in Israel on 7 October.

The release of the data comes shortly after precautionary measures were imposed against Israel as a result of a demand by South Africa for violations of the International Genocide Convention. Despite Israeli accusations, the Court reaffirmed its jurisdiction over the case and the definite threat of genocide.

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To return.

The measures ordered are mandatory and are to facilitate the “immediate arrival” of food aid, Measures which Israel is obliged to follow and about which it must report to the Court within one month, without prejudice to the investigation of the merits of the case.

The alleged Israeli evidence dates back to October 2023, specifically 7 October, when an armed attack by Hamas took place. According to the new York Times“Israeli intelligence agents established the movements of six people inside Israel on October 7 based on the location of their phones; others were monitored while making phone calls inside Gaza, according to the Israelis, He talked about his involvement In the attack against Hamas. “The other three received text messages ordering them to report to assembly points on October 7.”

Palestinian telephone system reliant on israeli infrastructure And this can be prevented by Israeli intelligence. It is not known when they were collected, but Israeli sources confirm that it happened quite a long time ago, among other reasons because Israeli services have been monitoring communications for weeks.

The Israeli evidence is based primarily on the monitoring of several mobile phones as well as the exchange of messages. It has not been made public physical evidence There is no independent authority to confirm these allegations.

UNRWA has ordered its own investigation, but Israel will not share the information it has. However, several governments, including major donors – the US being the first, Germany being the second – have already canceled funding to UNRWA without waiting for these allegations to be confirmed.

Is retaliation possible in public international law?

If this is confirmed, it could be war crimes Increased by violation of the principle of neutrality of humanitarian personnel. Their cases should be investigated, but sinking the entire organization is disproportionate. Also, can retaliation be ordered for an international crime? No, International humanitarian law strictly prohibits reprisals against the civilian both the Geneva Conventions and the customary practice of States (Rule 146, ICRC 2024).

Therefore, there is no room for collective punishment by Israel, much less by the states that support it. Even more so, forcing UNRWA to be crippled, which is without funding. Will cease operations in FebruaryAccording to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, this will lead to non-compliance with precautionary measures ordered by the International Court of Justice.

Why is UNRWA necessary?

United Nations Relief and Reconstruction Agency in the Middle East It was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 As an interim body to deal with the 700,000 Palestinian refugees of the 1948 war. Its mandate has been renewed and expanded since 1967 to protect refugees.

Currently, it assists approximately six million Palestinian refugees in five different areas. the vast majority of the population in Gaza depends on UNRWA Both for food and medical care and as a place of refuge, as thousands of families take shelter in its hospitals and schools.

In the current circumstances of war and siege, UNRWA, with 13,000 staff, is the backbone of the Palestinian population in Gaza. However, 152 of its employees have died There have been 263 attacks and bombings on and against its facilities since the beginning of the conflict.

Israel’s goals

UNRWA has been in Israel’s sights for years. Israeli officials regard UNRWA as a “disturbance of peace” And he has repeatedly linked it to terrorism. This is not the first time that the US has suspended funding, as the President of the United States did in 2018 Donald Trump Payment stopped. Israeli officials have expressed that UNRWA should disappear from Gaza after the conflict ends.

He immediate goal The aim is to prevent compliance with the ICJ’s precautionary measures, particularly those relating to humanitarian assistance, by making their execution impractical.

Israel’s medium-term objective will be to eliminate a structure that is not only humanitarian in nature, but Represents the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to the territory, A structure that has trained hundreds of thousands of Palestinians for 75 years, allowing them to maintain their identity and claim their rights.

The disappearance of UNRWA would end an uneasy Israeli claim. Not included in any international negotiations So far: Refugees’ right to return or receive compensation.

This article was originally published on The Conversation


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