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UNRWA, southern end of Ophel Road, Jerusalem. Credit: rusticus80

March 30, 2024 (EIRNS)—Several countries have announced that they will resume funding of UNRWA even as the U.S. Congress has outlawed U.S. funding. Japan announced on March 28 its plan to resume funding to the United Nations aid agency for Palestinian refugees after suspending assistance, reported CGTN. “Japan and the UNRWA confirmed that they will advance final coordination about necessary efforts to resume Japan’s contribution,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Foreign Minister Ms. Kamikawa Yoko and UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazarrini met on March 28, according to the Foreign Ministry. Japanese media reports said the resumption of funding, suspended in January, was expected to come in the first half of April.

In Paris, the French Foreign Ministry announced this week that it would provide over €30 million ($32.41 million) to UNRWA to support its operations. “We will make our contributions while ensuring that the conditions are met for UNRWA to fulfill its missions in a spirit devoid of incitement to hatred and violence,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Christophe Lemoine told journalists, reported Reuters. He did not say when the next payment to the agency would be made. According to the usual quarterly schedule, the next tranche is due in April.

Germany also informed UNRWA’s Lazarrini March 26 that it will provide €45 to the agency.

Seventeen countries and the European Commission had halted all funding of UNRWA, led by the United States which was the first to do so, on the very day that the International Court of Justice ruled that South Africa’s charge that Israel was committing “genocide” in Gaza is “plausible.” With this week’s announcements, it appears that nine of those countries, plus the European Commission, have now resumed their funding. The UN had announced on March 22 that Finland, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden would resume funding. Canada and Australia had done so before that. Reuters reported separately that Kuwait has handed its annual $2 million contribution to the agency.

On March 26 at its briefing, UNRWA Commission General Philippe Lazzarini indicated that UNRWA’s financial crisis had eased slightly. “UNRWA welcomes an announcement by the government of Germany that it is providing €45 million in new contributions to the Agency’s work in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank. With these new contributions, Germany is now our top donor, something I am deeply grateful for. Germany’s solidarity with UNRWA is a proof of its commitment to contributing to the human development of Palestine Refugees, and to their right to a dignified life,” said Lazzarini.

“What I can say today is that we can run our operation until the end of May, whereas a month ago I had just the visibility for the next week or two weeks,” he told Reuters in Geneva. “But that shows also how bad the financial situation of the organization is.”