UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General Antonio GuterresReuters

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says his organization will hold accountable any UNRWA staff member who was involved in Hamas's atrocities amid decisions by several countries to suspend funding the organization.

“Any UN employee involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution,” the UN chief says in a statement. “The Secretariat is ready to cooperate with a competent authority able to prosecute the individuals in line with the Secretariat’s normal procedures for such cooperation.”

With this, Guterres called on the nations which have suspended funding to go back on their decisions. “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 penalized. The dire needs of the desperate populations they serve must be met.”

In response to the Secretary-General's call not to suspend funding, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Eradan remarked: "The UN Secretary-General proves again that the lives and security of the citizens of Israel are not really important to him. After years of ignoring evidence that was presented to him personally of UNRWA's support and involvement in incitement and terror, and before he holds a comprehensive investigation to find the Hamas terrorists and murderers in UNRWA, he concentrates on raising donations for the murder and terror organization.

"Every nation that continues to fund UNRWA before a comprehensive investigation of the organization must know that its money will be used for terrorism and aid that is given to UNRWA may reach Hamas terrorists instead of the population of Gaza.

"I call on all supporting nations to freeze their support and demand an in-depth investigation that will encompass all organization staff," Erdan concluded.

On Saturday, Germany, Scotland, and the Netherlands announced that they would suspend funding for UNRWA, the United Nations group which in Gaza is controlled by Hamas, amid accusations its employees were involved in the October 7th massacre. The three European countries join a growing list of countries to suspend funding, including Switzerland, the USA, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Finland.