White House wants ‘real progress’ before US restores UNRWA funding

WASHINGTON — The White House says it will “have to see real progress” before restoring its funding to the UN agency for Palestinians, the main aid agency operating in war-torn Gaza.

The comments from National Security Council spokesman John Kirby came after the US froze aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency following accusations by Israel that its staff may have participated in the October 7, 2023, Hamas attacks.

A UN probe is looking into those accusations.

A separate independent review into UNRWA found some “neutrality-related issues” in its much-anticipated report released Monday. It noted Israel had yet to provide evidence for incendiary allegations that staff were members of terrorist organizations.

“In terms of our funding of UNRWA, that is still suspended. We’re gonna have to see real progress here before that gets changed,” Kirby says.

Many donor countries have resumed funding since Israel’s accusations, including Sweden, Canada, Japan, the EU and France — while others, including the United States and Britain — have continued to hold out.

“We welcome the results of this report and strongly support the recommendations in the report,” Kirby says, noting that the United States also faced legal constraints in restarting its funding.

Congress passed a bill signed into law by President Joe Biden last month that blocks US funding until March 2025.

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