Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Linda Thomas-GreenfieldREUTERS/Mike Segar

The United States said on Tuesday that UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” needs to make "fundamental changes" before Washington will resume funding, Reuters reported.

The US announced on Friday it has temporarily paused funding to UNRWA following allegations that 12 of its employees may have been involved in Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Tuesday welcomed a UN inquiry into the accusations against UNRWA staff and added the US was seeking more detail from Israel about the allegations.

She described "fundamental changes" as: "We need to look at the organization, how it operates in Gaza, how they manage their staff and to ensure that people who commit criminal acts, such as these 12 individuals, are held accountable immediately so that UNRWA can continue the essential work that it's doing."

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said at his daily press briefing that the US needs to see accountability from UNRWA.

“We very much support the work that UNRWA does. We think it’s critical. There is no other humanitarian player in Gaza who can provide food and water and medicine at the scale that UNRWA does. We want to see that work continued, which is why it is so important that the United Nations take this matter seriously, that they investigate it, that there is accountability for anyone who is found to have engaged in wrongdoing, and that they take whatever other measures are appropriate to ensure that this sort of thing cannot happen again,” said Miller.

The US was followed by Canada, Australia, the UK, and Finland who announced the suspension of aid to UNRWA.

On Saturday, Germany, Scotland, and the Netherlands announced that they would suspend funding for UNRWA. France followed suit on Sunday and Japan made a similar announcement as well.

On Monday, New Zealand became the latest country to suspend its aid to UNRWA.