Sweden among 15 donors suspending support to UN Palestinian agency amid Hamas ties claims
As reported by Turkish agency, Anadolu, Sweden's decision to suspend monetary aid for UNRWA has been met with backlash. However, Sweden is not alone in this. In fact, a total of fifteen major donors have made the same move to withhold funds. After allegations from Israel concerning involvement in Hamas activities, the UN agency was compelled to dismiss nine staff members. It should be clarified, though, that these dismissals occurred due to the severity of the accusations, rather than their factual bases.
Beatrice Fihn, a renowned Swedish lawyer, social activist, and previous director of the Nobel Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, expressed her criticisms in the "Expressen", a local newspaper. She said, "It's disastrous that Sweden has ceased humanitarian aid to UNRWA, particularly since no tangible proof of Israel's accusations has come to light."
In the same newspaper, the Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Johan Forssell, explained Sweden's stance. The government's primary concern is ensuring that the country does not indirectly support terrorism in any capacity. "For me, it is vital that Swedish aid maintains high quality and never approaches the realm of terrorism," he stated.
The decision made by the Swedish authorities did not come as a shock to Anders Persson, a researcher and senior lecturer at Linnaeus University in Sweden. In his commentary, he noted, "The issue of Palestine has been a contentious matter in Sweden for a while now. These kinds of revelations, assuming they are true, just add to it. The UNRWA is an organization that has encountered problems in the past. Nevertheless, it serves several significant social functions within Palestinian territories," he shared, providing insight into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to Persson’s predictions, it's highly likely that aid will be resumed in the near future. "The United States wishes for more aid to reach the Gaza Strip, not less, and I find it challenging to envision it functioning optimally without UNRWA's assistance," he concluded.