Switzerland allocates $11 million to UNRWA in Gaza


The Swiss government has proposed granting $11 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The government proposal, announced on Wednesday after weeks of discussions, represents half the amount that was initially scheduled to be paid to UNRWA in 2024.

Government spokesman Andrei Simonazzi explained that the Federal Council decided to disburse funds to UNRWA twice a year, which means that there will be a second decision later this year.

The Federal Council said in a statement, “Switzerland’s contribution of 10 million Swiss francs to UNRWA will be limited to Gaza and will cover the most urgent basic needs such as food, water, shelter, basic health care and logistics services.”

The statement added that Switzerland "is fully aware of the difficult nature of the situation and recognises the urgent need to take action."

UNRWA, which coordinates almost all aid to Gaza, has been facing a crisis since January when Israel accused about 12 of its 13,000 employees in Gaza of involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7.

This led several donor countries, including the United States and Switzerland, to suddenly suspend funding to the agency, threatening its efforts to deliver much-needed aid in Gaza, where the United Nations has warned of an impending famine.

An independent UNRWA review group led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna found some "issues regarding neutrality" but said Israel had not yet provided evidence of its main claims.

The Swiss government said that it "relied on the analysis of the Colonna report and coordination with other donors" in making its decision. The government's decision must still be presented to parliament's foreign affairs committees for consultation.

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