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UN Agency Closes Jerusalem HQ After Israeli Settler Arson Attacks

UN Agency Closes Jerusalem HQ After Israeli Settler Arson Attacks

Via The Cradle

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced on Thursday that it is shutting down its headquarters in east Jerusalem after Israeli settlers carried out an arson attack on its building.

This was the second settler attack on the UNRWA building in less than a week, according to the agency’s general commissioner, Phillipe Lazzarini. 

“Our director, with the help of other staff, had to put out the fire themselves as it took the Israeli fire extinguishers and police a while before they turned up. This is an outrageous development. Once again, the lives of UN staff were at serious risk.”

“In light of this second appalling incident in less than a week, I have taken the decision to close down our compound until proper security is restored,” Lazzarini said. 

Video footage on social media showed the UNRWA building in flames as settlers were heard cheering in the background. There were no injuries, but the fires caused significant damage to property, according to WAFA news agency.

Just two days earlier, settlers attacked the same headquarters, throwing stones at UN staff members “under the watch of the Israeli police,” Lazzarini added. 

The perpetrators of these attacks must be investigated, and those responsible must be held accountable. Anything less will set a new dangerous standard,” he said, adding that settlers have continuously attacked and harassed UNRWA staff for months. “On several occasions, Israeli extremists threatened our staff with guns.”

Settlers have been staging violent and provocative protests outside UNRWA headquarters for the past two months. 

The UN agency has been operating in support of Palestinian refugees and internally displaced Palestinians since 1950. The organization provides education, health care, and other services. In recent years, it has suffered a severe lack of funding for its global operations.

After the October 7 attacks, Israel accused UNRWA staff members of taking part in the attack.


Sun, 05/12/2024 – 07:30

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