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UN General Assembly Briefing Warns ‘Imminent Collapse’ of UNRWA Must Be Stopped

March 5, 2024 (EIRNS)—The UN General Assembly held an informal plenary briefing on Monday, March 4, for members to hear directly from Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) that the agency is in danger of “imminent collapse.” It is the cut-off of funding for UNRWA by 16 nations initiated by the Biden administration on Jan. 26 at the behest of the Netanyahu government, within hours of the International Court of Justice’s ruling that Israel is “plausibly” engaging in genocide in Gaza, which created this crisis.

UNGA President Ambassador Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago opened the briefing. “We gather again today under ominous and worsening circumstances, to say the least,” he warned. UNRWA was established in 1949 by the UNGA, he said, and “no other entity is capable of providing assistance on the scale required to meet the needs of the 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip…. UNRWA may not survive without our immediate and decisive action.... Let us seize the urgency of this moment to not only support UNRWA to rebuild itself—but to find a permanent resolution to this senseless and brutal conflict,” he urged.

Lazzarini stated bluntly that UNRWA “is at the breaking point.” The suffering in Gaza is impossible to adequately describe, he underlined. Over 30,000 killed in the last five months, and a full 5% of the population of the Gaza Strip now dead, injured, or missing. With the dire shortage of lifesaving and medical supplies and a looming famine, “I shudder to think of what will still be revealed about the horrors that have taken place in this narrow strip of land,” he declared.

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