Gaza after Israel air strike. Italy is resuming fund for Palestinian refugees. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Italy resumes funding for Palestinian refugees


Today, Italy said it would resume funding for Palestinian refugees after a visit from the Palestinian Prime Minister.

Palestine’s PM Mohammed Mustafa, on his first trip to Europe since being appointed by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in March, met with Tajani and then with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

“Italy has decided to resume financing specific projects intended for assistance to Palestinian refugees but only after rigorous controls that guarantee that not even a penny risks ending up supporting terrorism,” stated Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

Tajani announced that Rome had “arranged new funding for the Palestinian population, of a total of €35million.” He specified, “Of this, five million will be allocated to UNRWA.” The remaining €30million will be allocated to Italy’s “Food for Gaza” initiative in coordination with UN aid agencies.

UNRWA, responsible for coordinating nearly all aid to Gaza, has faced a crisis since January when Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of involvement in the 7th October attack on Israel by Hamas. This led many nations, including top donor the United States, to suspend funding abruptly, although several have since resumed payments.

Independent review of UNRWA

An independent review of UNRWA, led by French former foreign minister Catherine Colonna, found some “neutrality-related issues” but noted that Israel had “yet to provide supporting evidence” for its leading allegations. The review also emphasised that UNRWA was “irreplaceable and indispensable to Palestinians’ human and economic development” and served as “a humanitarian lifeline” for many.

During her meeting with Mustafa, Meloni, whose country holds the G7 presidency this year, reiterated Rome’s support for all efforts to secure a “sustainable ceasefire” in the Hamas-Israel war. In a statement released by her office, she called for the release of hostages taken by Hamas and increased humanitarian assistance for besieged Gaza. Meloni also stressed the importance of restarting the political process with the goal of a two-state solution.

The Gaza war erupted after Hamas’s 7th October attack resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the Israeli army says are dead. Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,857 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to data from the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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