UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe LazzariniREUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, warned Thursday it has reached a critical juncture as it struggles to cope with the war in Gaza, AFP reported.

"It is with profound regret that I must now inform you that UNRWA has reached a breaking point," the agency’s chief Philippe Lazzarini said.

"The Agency's ability to fulfill the mandate given through General Assembly resolution 302 is now seriously threatened," he said in a letter to the UN General Assembly, a reference to the resolution under which the agency was founded in 1949.

Israel presented evidence that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the Hamas October 7 attack on Israel.

In the wake of this, the United States and a host of other countries announced they were temporarily pausing funding for UNRWA.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told foreign reporters last week that Israel has found intelligence that more than 30 of UNRWA’s employees actively participated in the massacre, and assisted in the kidnapping of civilians and soldiers.

One of the UNRWA workers involved was identified as Faisal Ali Musalem Na’ami, 45, who was photographed during the massacre abducing a body of an Israeli from Kibbutz Be’eri. He was killed in an air strike targeting his house in Nuseirat, along with five of his children and one of his wives.

Data published on Kan 11 News on Tuesday showed that out of approximately 12,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza, 440 are terrorists participating in active fighting against Israel.

About 2,000 more are registered Hamas operatives, but not members of the military wing. Another 7,000 UNRWA employees have a first-degree relative who is a Hamas terrorist.

All in all, close to 9,500 out of 12,000 UNRWA employees, are connected to the terrorist organization, i.e. four out of five UNRWA employees have ties to Hamas.

Lazzarini asserted in his letter on Thursday that Israel has provided no evidence against the 12 former employees it accuses, but 16 countries have suspended funding anyway.

"I have cautioned donors and host countries that without new funding, UNRWA operations across the region will be severely compromised from March," he said.

"I fear we are on the edge of a monumental disaster with grave implications for regional peace, security and human rights," added Lazzarini.

The UNRWA chief has resisted Israel’s calls for him to step down and has instead continued to level accusations as Israel.

Last week, he accused Israel of aiming to “destroy” the organization, telling a Swiss newspaper that Israel has a “long-term political goal” of eliminating UNRWA.