Germany will resume working with UNRWA after a review


Germany said Wednesday that it plans to follow several other countries in resuming cooperation with the U.N. relief agency for Palestinians in Gaza after the publication of an independent review of its neutrality.

The head of the Arab League hailed the report, saying it showed that Israel’s allegations were baseless and part of a “systematic campaign” meant to end the mandate of the agency.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry called Germany’s decision “regrettable and disappointing.” Israel says that hundreds of UNRWA workers are members of Palestinian militant groups, and claims the report understated the problem. Its allegations led to the suspension of contributions to UNRWA by the United States and more than a dozen other countries. 

Also Wednesday, the Israeli military said it is redeploying two reserve brigades from its northern border to Gaza for “defensive and tactical missions,” as it prepares for an offensive in Rafah, which Israel describes as Hamas’ last stronghold in the territory.

More than half of the territory’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge in Rafah.

U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law on Wednesday a $95 billion war aid measurethat includes around $9 billion in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, which experts say is on the brink of famine, as well as billions for Israel. 

The Israel-Hamas war was sparked by the unprecedented Oct. 7 raid into southern Israel in which militants killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250 hostages. Israel says the militants are still holding around 100 hostages and the remains of more than 30 others.