Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide yesterday called on countries that export weapons to Israel to assess their actions or risk prosecution for participating in Israel’s genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.
“States exporting weapons to Israel should reassess whether they are effective partners in the genocide in Gaza Strip or not,” he said.
Eide also announced that Oslo will continue funding the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in spite of the US, UK, Canada and other Western countries cutting donations following Israeli allegations that 12 UNRWA staff took part in the 7 October attack on Israel.
Tel Aviv has issued intelligence documents that it claims are evidence that staff working for the UN agency were connected with Hamas in Gaza.
The report, which has been shared with foreign governments, alleges that six employees of UNRWA infiltrated Israel. Four of them were allegedly involved in kidnapping Israelis, while another worker is said to have provided “logistics support”, according to Sky News.
The six-page report alleges that “out of approx. 12,000 UNRWA employees in GS [Gaza Strip], about 10% are Hamas/PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] operatives and about 50% are first-degree relatives with a Hamas operative.” It provides names and photos of 11 of them.
The Palestinians accuse Israel of falsifying information to discredit UNRWA, which says it has dismissed some employees in connection with these allegations and has opened a probe into the claims.
Israel has repeatedly equated UNRWA staff with Hamas members in efforts to discredit them, providing no proof of the claims, while lobbying hard to have UNRWA closed as it is the only UN agency to have a specific mandate to look after the basic needs of Palestinian refugees. If the agency no longer exists, argues Israel, then the refugee issue must no longer exist, and the legitimate right for Palestinian refugees to return to their land will be unnecessary. Israel has denied that right of return since the late 1940s, even though its own membership of the UN was made conditional upon Palestinian refugees being allowed to return to their homes and land.
(Source: Middle East Monitor)