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Australia has restarted its assistance to the UN agency providing aid to Palestinians

 Australia has restarted its assistance to the UN agency providing aid to Palestinians


Penny Wong, Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, spoke at the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 22, 2023, at the UN headquarters. On March 15, 2024, Wong announced that the Australian government would recommence financial support to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which offers humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.


The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong announced that the government will recommence funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is offering humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza. In January, Australia, along with several Western nations, suspended funding to UNRWA after Israeli intelligence suggested that some of its workers were connected to the October 7 attack by Hamas militants. Additionally, Australia has faced criticism for revoking the visas of several Palestinians fleeing the conflict with Israel in Gaza. The Australia Greens party has condemned this action, stating that it demonstrates a lack of humanity.

Earlier this month, both Canada and the European Union declared they would recommence funding to UNRWA, while the United States, the agency's primary donor, maintains its freeze on payments.
Wong expressed to the press her satisfaction with the thoroughness of an investigation into allegations following an attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7.
Wong stated that the serious nature of these allegations demanded an immediate and appropriate response. She added that based on the current advice from agencies and Australian government lawyers, UNRWA is not considered a terrorist organization, and existing additional safeguards sufficiently protect Australian taxpayer funding.
Australia's decision to resume aid to the agency has been criticized in light of its recent cancellation of visas for Palestinians fleeing conflict.
According to the Department of Home Affairs, Australia granted 2,273 temporary visas to Palestinians with Australian connections between October 7 and February 6. During the same period, over 2,400 visitor visas were granted to individuals claiming Israeli citizenship.
This visa category does not permit recipients to work or access education or government-funded health care in Australia, although they would not be denied emergency medical care.
Refugee and migrant advocates reported that several Palestinians recently had their Australian visas abruptly cancelled by the Canberra government. Citing "privacy reasons," the government has not disclosed the number of affected visas.

Local media obtained a cancellation notification asserting that a specific applicant had never genuinely intended to "stay temporarily in Australia."
Australia's Labor government, which leans to the left, defended its actions, stating they were based on ongoing security checks. A spokesperson for Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil said the "Australian government reserves the right to cancel any issued visas if circumstances change."

However, Adam Bandt, leader of the Australian Greens party, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Friday that visa applicants are being treated unfairly.
Bandt criticized the Labor party, stating that people's visas are being cancelled because the Labor party does not know how long the Gaza invasion, which they support, will last, and as a result, they are denying them entry into the country. Bandt described this as "callous inhumanity."

Australia has expressed that Israel has the right to defend itself following the Hamas militants' attack last October.
Canberra supports a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist within internationally recognized borders. - Apple Majait


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