UNRWA
UNRWAWisam Hashlamoun/Flash 90

Austria announced on Saturday it will restore its funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for “Palestinian refugees”, after suspending it over allegations that staff were involved in the October 7 Hamas attacks, AFP reported.

Israel said in January that 12 UNRWA staff participated in the October 7 Hamas attacks. In the weeks that followed, numerous donor states suspended or paused some $450 million in funding to UNRWA.

Some of those countries, including Germany, Sweden, Canada and Japan, have since resumed funding to the agency..

"After analyzing the action plan in detail" submitted by UNRWA "to improve the functioning of the organization", Austria has decided to "release the funds," its foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by AFP.

A total of 3.4 million euros in funds have been budgeted for 2024, and the first payment is expected to be made in the summer, the statement said.

"Some of the Austrian funds will be used in the future to improve internal control mechanisms at UNRWA," it added.

Austria said it will "closely monitor" the implementation of the action plan with other international partners, noting that "a lot of trust had been squandered".

Israel said that the UNRWA workers who participated in the Hamas massacre kidnapped a woman, handed out ammunition and actively taking part in the massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri, where 97 people were murdered.

After Israel presented the accusations against the UNRWA staff, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the creation of a review group, headed by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, to look into the Israeli allegations.

The group recently released its report which found neutrality-related issues" in UNRWA but also claimed that Israel had yet to provide evidence for allegations that a significant number of its staff were members of terrorist organizations.