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Spain Condemns Arson Attacks On UN Agency's Headquarters In East Jerusalem

10.05.2024 16:57

Madrid reminds Tel Aviv of its duty to protect humanitarian workers.

The Spanish government on Friday condemned the arson attacks on the headquarters of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Thursday night, Israeli residents set fire twice to the perimeter of the agency's headquarters while staff were on the compound, putting lives at serious risk, according to UNRWA Commissioner Gernal Philippe Lazzarini.

Protesters were chanting "burn down the United Nations," and UN staff had to put out the fire themselves.

In the face of the "second appalling incident in less than a week," the UN compound is closed as it restores "proper security," Lazzarini said.

Spain's Foreign Ministry on Friday reminded Israel of its "obligation to protect humanitarian workers in line with international law."

It added that the UN Agency is "essential for the protection of millions of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East" and that its humanitarian work is "fundamental for Gaza" at this time.

In his statement, Lazzarini said that over the past two months, Israeli extremists have been staging sometimes violent protests outside the compound in East Jerusalem, with staff being harassed and threatened with guns.

While many Western nations suspended funding for UNRWA after Israel accused several of its workers of being involved in the Oct. 7 attacks, Spain decided to boost funding to the UN agency.

Israel's allegation of UNRWA terrorist claims have not been substantiated since they were made in January 2024.

Many major donors have since resumed funding to UNRWA.

Lazzarini said: "It is the responsibility of the State of Israel as an occupying power to ensure that United Nations personnel and facilities are protected at all time," and called on "all those who have influence to put an end to these attacks." -

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