Statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide on UNRWA

The situation in Gaza is desperate. UNRWA is the lifeline for Gazans, and crucial for Palestine refugees across the Middle East.

After allegations earlier this year that some UNRWA employees took part in the terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, many countries halted their funding of UNRWA. Norway chose to continue funding this crucial agency. We remain one of UNRWA’s top donors, committing 45 million USD last year.

The UN has addressed accusations against UNRWA staff in a timely manner. Regardless of these allegations, we cannot collectively punish millions of people for the alleged deeds of a few. Commissioner-General Lazzarini has been clear that the fate of UNRWA, and millions of people, is at stake. I therefore welcome the decisions by the EU, Canada and Sweden to continue funding UNRWA.

I urge other donors who have suspended their support to resume their funding. For UNRWA, this will support their desperately needed relief work in Gaza, the West Bank and beyond. For many Palestinians, continued support to UNRWA could make the difference between life and death.