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Families struggling with catastrophic hunger, waiting for food in Deir Al Balah, UNRWA Facebook page

Two dailies often reflecting the Chinese government’s view, Global Times and China Daily, questioned the intent of the charges being leveled against UNRWA and the resulting U.S.-initiated cut in funding to that UN agency which is the primary provider of humanitarian aid in Gaza. They did this in their respective Jan. 29 editorials. Global Times' blunt headline read: “UNRWA Cannot Come to a Standstill in Gaza Because of This”; China Daily’s, “Knee-Jerk Reaction to Tel Aviv’s UNRWA Charges Shows Some Countries Putting Cart before Horse”.

Both point out that Israel’s effort to shut down UNRWA is well known. “It is no secret that Tel Aviv wants to paralyze the agency, if not totally uproot it from the Palestinian enclave. It has viewed the agency as a protective umbrella for anti-Israel forces in Gaza since its founding in the late 1940s, and its disabling has been a key part of Tel Aviv’s long-term plan to `neutralize’ the Gaza Strip,” China Daily reminded readers. Global Times called it “particularly noteworthy that Israel has previously stated that the Israeli government will implement a policy to prevent UNRWA from operating in the Gaza Strip after the current round of Israel-Palestine conflict ends.”

Both call for the allegations to be investigated, but warn that “precautions should be taken to prevent any serious secondary humanitarian disaster resulting from this incident…. There is currently no alternative to UNRWA, and it remains the only hope for Palestinian refugees,” as Global Times wrote. The paper called out the pious game of Western donors who claim they are only “suspending” aid for the “investigation period,” and seek no harm to Palestinians, while “the concept of the `investigation period’ is vague, and it is still unknown how long the funding will be suspended.”

“Shame on those immediately suspending their support for the Palestinian refugees even before Israel’s charges are substantiated while talking big about their concern for civilians’ lives,” China Daily wrote. Global Times proposed that “the international community should increase support for UNRWA rather than reduce it.”