Sweden resumes aid to UN agency for Palestinians


Sweden said Saturday it was resuming aid to the cash-strapped U.N. agency for Palestinians with an initial disbursement of $20 million after receiving assurances of extra checks on its spending and personnel.

Like several other countries, Sweden suspended aid to UNRWA in October after Israel accused about a dozen of its employees of involvement in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that sparked the conflict in Gaza.

“The government has allocated 400 million kronor to UNRWA for the year 2024. Today’s decision concerns a first payment of 200 million kronor,” the Swedish government said in a statement.

It said that to unblock the aid, UNRWA had agreed to “allow controls, independent audits, to strengthen internal supervision and extra controls of personnel.”

The Swedish move came after the European Commission earlier this month said it would release 50 million euros in UNRWA funding.

Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel resulted in about 1,160 deaths, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory operations in Hamas-controlled Gaza have killed more than 30,800 people, mostly women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

The amount of aid brought into Gaza by truck has plummeted during five months of war.

UNRWA is at the centre of efforts to provide humanitarian relief in Gaza, where the United Nations has warned repeatedly of looming famine after nearly five months of Israeli bombardment.

UNRWA employs around 30,000 people in the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria — with about 13,000 staff in the Gaza Strip.__Daily Hurriyet