You are here

UNRWA cuts: Israel’s allies take revenge for ICJ ruling

John Bell

January 27, 2024
The International Court of Justice ruledoverwhelmingly in favour of South Africa’s charge that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. Among its conclusions was an immediate end to obstructions of medical, food and water aid to Palestine. 
In response the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and Italy have stopped funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. This is the main organization tasked with bringing aid to Palestinians. These allies of Israel, all of whom supply it with arms, justify the mass punishment of suffering Gazans because of accusations, as yet unproven, that as many as 12 UNRWA employees had involvement in the October 7 raid on Israel. The information implicating the workers comes from Israeli intelligence, some of it obtained under torture.
The UNRWA employs some 13,000 workers meaning 12 workers comprises .04% of its workforce. To date 153 of its staff have been killed by Israeli attacks. Workers range from diplomats and lawyers to people who load and drive aid trucks locally. Reports have not specified what roles the accused workers filled. Nor have they said what form their “involvement” took. 
However the investigation plays out, the rapid move by Israel’s backers can only be seen as a slap at the ICJ ruling, revenge against the court for having the nerve to expose Israel’s genocidal war. That same ruling lays bare the complicity of the very imperialist and sub-imperialist powers that have now doubled down on their support for the genocidal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
In the past Canada has supported the ICJ, in cases involving Rwanda and sanctioning Russia, but when it delivers a ruling that Ottawa doesn’t like, it gives the court the stiff middle finger. The responses from Trudeau and his ministers reek of hypocrisy. International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen says aid will be channelled through other agencies. But in November Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly was praising the UNRWA and its work getting aid to the victims, calling it "the only organization able to concretely do this." 
The attack against the UNRWA is not just against this specific agency. It is intended to discredit any international organizations – from the ICJ to the UN itself – that oppose the will of the imperial powers. Anything that exposes the criminality of their unswerving support for Israel, their military bastion in the heart of the Arab region, must be undermined.
The timing of the defunding of the UNRWA, coming just hours after the ICJ ruling, exposes the cynical hypocrites in Washington, London, Ottawa and elsewhere for what they are: abettors of war crimes and knowing participants in genocide.
We must not let ourselves be distracted by this sideshow. The ICJ ruling is a major victory for Palestinians and their millions of supporters around the world. Now is the time to raise that victory high, and redouble our solidarity actions here at home. The ICJ and other international institutions are not the vehicle that will liberate Palestinians. That remains the task of the resistance movements in Palestine and the region and the International anti-war movement.
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!
The European Union has fallen in line with its NATO partners to suspend finding for the UNRWA, the main organization bringing food, water and medical aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
Despite saying the defunding only goes to the end of February, the move is still an escalation in the EU’s support for Israel’s genocidal war against Palestine.
They used the excuse that about a dozen UNRWA employees “cooperated” with the October 7 raid on Israel. This information comes from Israeli intelligence. The accusations are unproven, and there is no indication what form this “cooperation” might have taken.
Right wing Israeli politicians have long called for the destruction of UNRWA. It is the main agency bringing relief to Palestine, for decades helping people get on their feet after every brutal attack. UNRWA workers have also been witnesses to war crimes committed by the IDF. Over 150 of these workers have been killed in the current war. 
UNRWA is seen by Israeli politicians an obstacle to genocide and must be eliminated.
Witness this rant by a former State Department official named Noga Arbell, testifying before the Knesset: “Our goal in the war is to eliminate the threat and not to neutralize it.” It must be noted that she made these statements, on camera, 3 days before the October 7 attack.
She continues: “And it will be impossible to win the war if we do not destroy UNRWA. And this destruction must begin immediately.” She goes on to say that the first way to “destroy” UNRWA is to break Israel’s allies from contributing to it.
There is little doubt that the defunding, and attempt to delegitimize UNRWA is the imperialist powers’ counter-offensive against the devastating judgement at the International Court of Justice against Israel.
Obstructing or withdrawing aid from a population facing genocidal attack is not only contempt for any idea of international law and justice, it is the height of moral depravity. We expect nothing better from these imperialist vultures, but it is unusual for them to admit it so publicly.
Our job now is to lay these crimes at our own government’s doorstep. Even as the genocide is more and more revealed to the world, the Trudeau Liberals increase their support for the ethnic cleansing. They are supported by the Tories. As for the NDP, they are guilty by their silence and by continuing to prop up the government.
Complete embargo on sale of arms to and from the state of Israel.
Full ceasefire now.
Restore full funding to UNRWA.

Featured Event



Visit our YouTube Channel for more videos: Our Youtube Channel
Visit our UStream Channel for live videos: Our Ustream Channel