Spanish Government Condemns Arson Attacks on UNRWA in East Jerusalem

Israeli extremists set fire to the UNRWA headquarters in occupied East Jerusalem, putting staff lives at risk. The Spanish government and international officials have strongly condemned the attacks, calling on Israel to protect humanitarian workers and facilities.

Muthana Al-Najjar
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Spanish Government Condemns Arson Attacks on UNRWA in East Jerusalem

Spanish Government Condemns Arson Attacks on UNRWA in East Jerusalem

The Spanish government has strongly condemned the recent arson attacks on the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in occupied East Jerusalem. On Thursday night, Israeli residents set fire to the perimeter of the agency's headquarters twice, putting the lives of staff members at serious risk.

Why this matters: The attacks on UNRWA's headquarters highlight the growing tensions and violence in the region, which can have far-reaching consequences for regional stability and humanitarian efforts. The international community's response to these incidents will set a precedent for protecting humanitarian workers and facilities in conflict zones.

The attacks occurred while UNRWA staff were on the compound, and they had to put out the fire themselves. Protesters were heard chanting "burn down the United Nations" during the incident. This is the second such incident in less than a week, prompting the UN compound to be closed for security reasons.

Over the past two months, Israeli extremists have been staging violent protests outside the compound, harassing and threatening staff with guns. UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini stated that "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 times." He called on international officials to "put an end to these attacks."

The Spanish Foreign Ministry reminded Israel of its "obligation to protect humanitarian workers in line with international law." The ministry emphasized the importance of UNRWA's humanitarian work, particularly in Gaza, and its role in protecting millions of Palestinian refugees in the Middle East.

Israel had accused UNRWA workers of being involved in the October 7 attacks, leading several Western nations to suspend funding to the agency. However, Spain decided to boost funding to UNRWA, and many major donors have since resumed funding to the agency. Israel's allegations of UNRWA's involvement in terrorism have not been substantiated since they were made in January 2024.

The attacks on UNRWA's East Jerusalem headquarters have sparked widespread condemnation from international officials, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who said, "I condemn the recent attack on UNRWA Headquarters in East Jerusalem. Targeting aid workers and humanitarian assets is unacceptable, and must stop." As the occupying power, Israel has a clear responsibility under international law to protect UN personnel and facilities. The international community must hold Israel accountable for these dangerous and unacceptable attacks on UNRWA.