Several Western countries have suspended aid to UNWRA, a move criticised by Palestinians and top UN officials.
Here’s how things stand on Sunday, January 28, 2024:
- Several countries, including the US, are reviewing funding to Palestinian refugees’ agency UNRWA after Israel alleged some of its staff were involved in Hamas’s October 7 attacks.
- Top Palestinian officials and Hamas have criticised the decision to cut the funding by nearly a dozen Western countries.
- Defunding UNRWA could be “violating” the Genocide Convention, said UNWRA’s head Philippe Lazzarini. “Palestinians in Gaza did not need this additional collective punishment,” he wrote on X. “This stains all of us.”
- United Nations Secretary Secretary-General Antonio Guterres vowed on Sunday to hold to account “any UN employee involved in acts of terror. But he implored donor states to “guarantee the continuity” of UNRWA operations. “The tens of thousands of men and women who work for UNRWA, many in some of the most dangerous situations for humanitarian workers, should not be penalised. The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met,” he said.
- Ireland and Norway have said they will continue to fund the agency.
- Thousands fleeing fighting in Khan Younis have arrived in Rafah, where people are sleeping on the street and in tent camps flooded with sewage.
- “Tanks shoot at everybody”, Ahmed al-Moghrabi, a plastic surgeon at Nasser Hospital, told Al Jazeera as Israel’s siege on the hospital in Khan Younis continues for the fifth day.
- Death toll reaches 26,257 Palestinians killed and 64,797 others wounded.
- Israel would pause war for two months in a deal to release 100 captives, the AP and The New York Times report quoting unnamed US officials.
- CIA director Bill Burns is expected to discuss the contours of the emerging agreement when he meets on Sunday in France with Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency David Barnea, Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel for talks centred on the captive negotiations.
- Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan pressed China to persuade Iran to end its support for Houthis attacking ships in the Red Sea.
- Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has said there will be an Israeli military administration in Gaza.
- Families of captives held in Gaza again rallied in Tel Aviv, which followed after antigovernment protests were held earlier in the night.
- Pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s home for a second night.
- Pope Francis renewed his call for a ceasefire in Gaza.
- Israel will no longer allow protesters to block trucks carrying humanitarian aid through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing following the ICJ’s ruling that aid must be allowed into Gaza, Israel’s Haaretz reported, quoting Israeli security officials.
- Israeli forces arrested nine Palestinians in overnight raids on Hebron and Beita, south of Nablus, in the occupied West Bank, reported Wafa.