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Borrell: “We reject any attempt to classify UNRWA as a terrorist organization”

AA / Istanbul / Yakut Dandashi

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stressed on Wednesday that he rejects the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) as a “terrorist organisation”.

This emerged from his meeting with UNRWA Commissioner Philippe Lazzarin in response to Israel’s decision to classify the UN agency as a “terrorist organization,” according to Borrell’s post on X.

“I met Lazarin. He has no more words to describe the situation in Gaza. Death continues to strike. Not only are people losing their lives, but hope and social fabric are dying,” he wrote.

Borrell stressed the need to “end this tragedy that affects humanity.”

And to continue, “I reaffirmed the EU’s support to UNRWA, commending its work and its team.”

Borel also mentioned “the renewal of the financial support of the Agency and the future support of the European Union”.

“We reject any attempt to classify UNRWA as a terrorist organization because it remains the only organization necessary to save the lives of Palestinians,” he stressed.

Israel’s Knesset on Wednesday approved a bill in a preliminary hearing that would revoke the immunity and privileges granted to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

According to the bill, the 1947 UN Immunities and Privileges Decree authorizes Israel’s foreign minister to “issue a legal order under which the United Nations and its staff shall enjoy immunities and privileges.”

Among the immunities and privileges enjoyed by UNRWA, “the agency enjoys immunity from jurisdiction and therefore cannot be subject to judicial action, exemption or reduction of taxes and property taxes, exemption from import or export prohibition, exemption from income tax, etc. “, said the same source.

UNRWA owns many educational and health facilities in East Jerusalem and manages the Shuafat refugee camp, the only camp in the city. The organization also has its headquarters in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

UNRWA was established by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 and was mandated to assist and protect refugees in five areas of its operations, namely Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, until a just settlement was reached. between the parties to the conflict.

Since January 26, 18 countries, led by the United States and the European Union, have suspended funding to UNRWA after Israel said 12 of the agency’s staff, out of its 13,000 in Gaza, were allegedly involved in Hamas military attacks. Bases and settlements in the Gaza Strip on October 7. In turn, the agency announced the launch of an investigation into these allegations.

In total, the war against Gaza, which has been ongoing since October 7, has killed and injured more than 117,000 Palestinians, most of whom are women and children, and about 10,000 are missing due to starvation and mass destruction.

Israel continues the war, ignoring the International Criminal Court’s intention to issue international arrest warrants against its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Yoav Galanti for “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity.” Gaza.

Israel has besieged the Gaza Strip for 18 years, and its war has forced some two million residents of the enclave, or about 2.3 million Palestinians, to flee under dire conditions, with severe shortages of food, drinking water and medicine.

*Translated from Arabic by Hajer Cherny

Source: AA

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