APAN welcomes reinstated UNRWA funds, demands ceasefire, an end to genocide to ensure aid gets to Gaza

Mar 15, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of its restoration of frozen funding to UNRWA and its broader package of funding for UNICEF and the UN, but says the decision was long overdue, with UNRWA now at risk of collapse and Palestinians in Gaza facing starvation and imminent famine.

While it is critical to explore all available options to guarantee Palestinians in Gaza can access immediate and ongoing humanitarian aid, APAN is concerned that Australia’s financial support for aid airdrops comes at the expense of it taking the urgent action needed to pressure Israel to immediately stop its military campaign, end its siege on Gaza and to open border crossings to ensure the necessary aid is allowed into the territory.

The Australian Government must use all diplomatic and economic tools at its disposal to see the Israeli Government guarantee aid agencies access to Gaza via these border crossings, to facilitate the immediate provision of aid, to end its ongoing attacks on aid convoys and its massacres of Palestinians waiting for aid.

Quotes attributed to APAN President Nasser Mashni:

“While we welcome the government’s decision and its broader package of funding, it’s distressing that funding was frozen in the first place, considering Israel produced no evidence of agency wrongdoing, and in light of Israel’s history of falsifying evidence and its long-stated objective to destroy UNWRA and its mandate . 

“It’s heartening to hear the Australian Government publicly recognise the integrity of UNRWA and to acknowledge the agency’s vital and ongoing humanitarian effort in Gaza, and its support of Palestinian refugees across the region.

“Australia must now meet its international responsibilities to ensure this aid gets to the people who need it in Gaza, and to make sure that airdrops do not take the place of ensuring aid convoys can safely and effectively access Gaza via border crossings.

“The Australian Government must demand a ceasefire, and use all tools at its disposal to apply pressure to Israel to see it comply with international law, open border crossing to facilitate access to aid, and end the almost daily attacks on aid convoys and starving Palestinians waiting for food.”