Italy pledges additional 35 million euros of aid for Palestinians

By Thomson Reuters May 25, 2024 | 2:59 AM

ROME (Reuters) – Italy will resume funding for the United Nations’ Palestinian relief organisation UNRWA as part of a 35 million euro ($38 million) aid package, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Saturday.

Tajani made the commitment during a meeting in Rome with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa.

The Italian minister said five million euros would go to UNRWA projects, with the remainder destined for its “Food for Gaza” initiative.

Italy was one of a number of countries to block aid for UNRWA following accusations by Israel that some of the agency’s staff were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that triggered the Gaza war.

“Italy has decided to resume financing specific projects destined to help Palestinian refugees but only after rigorous checks that guarantee that not one cent risks ending up supporting terrorism,” Tajani said.

UNRWA employs 13,000 people in Gaza, running the enclave’s schools, its primary healthcare clinics and other social services, and distributing humanitarian aid.

In recent weeks, several countries have resumed funding the agency. Germany said last month it would resume cooperation with UNRWA following a report led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna into UNRWA’s procedures for ensuring adherence to principles of neutrality.

($1 = 0.9221 euros)

(Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Frances Kerry)