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Andrews hits out at EU and US for “inexcusable” suspension of aid to Gaza in light of Colonna Report

Strasbourg, 23rd April 2024

Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews has hit out at the European Commission, several EU Member States and the US Government for previously suspending vital aid to Gaza based on what have now been found to be unproven allegations by the Israeli Government.The Dublin MEP was speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg this afternoon in the final debate on the topic of Gaza ahead of the European Elections.MEP Andrews said the report, led by former French minister Catherine Colonna and published yesterday, showed the Israeli Government has not provided any proof of its claims of terrorist links among UNRWA staff, and therefore there was no legitimate basis for the Commission, several Member States and the US Government to suspend funding that provides a lifeline to the people of Gaza.“The report finds that UNRWA is an indispensable humanitarian lifeline for the Palestinian people, and that the organisation has more rigorous neutrality safeguards than comparable institutions,” MEP Andrews said.“Austria, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Romania, Sweden and the European Commission - these are the EU powers that chose to suspend humanitarian funding to Palestinians on the basis of zero evidence.“There are MEPs in this house that tried to defund UNRWA all throughout this term, and doubled down on these efforts, despite the mounting death toll and a looming famine.“Worst of all, on Sunday, the United States Congress passed a bill providing more than $26 billion dollars in support to Israel and banning aid to UNRWA until March 2025, to which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the man responsible for the massacre of 34,000 people, responded ‘Thank you friends, thank you America!’.“And still, the US has not managed to call for a ceasefire at the UN Security Council. I want to take this opportunity to remind the US that under the Genocide convention, third states with significant ties with a state accused of genocide may be found complicit unless they do all in their power to prevent genocide. Supplying arms to Israel and withdrawing humanitarian funding to Palestinians is quite a damning record for the US.“It is difficult to not lose faith in such harrowing circumstances. However, I have not lost faith in my own country, Ireland, or in the unwavering moral compass of the Irish people. Ireland did not fall prey to the disinformation.“Ireland was the first EU country to actually increase funding to UNRWA since the war began. It will recognize the State of Palestine and has called for the suspension of trade with Israel. I want to commend the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin for the leadership he has shown on this.“As I finish this term as MEP, I am left with an overwhelming sense of pride for my country, and the hope that one day, the Palestinian people will experience justice and peace as a sovereign and free state.

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