UNRWA’s Lazzarini: We Need to Stay on ‘Right Side’ of History

Lazzarini explained that he is working on all fronts to save the agency, pressured by "Israel" and its allies, citing that there has been a "deliberate effort" from the Israeli government to dismantle the aid agency.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini is perhaps currently the most important Swiss on the international scene. Speaking on the Helvetica show, he explains that he is on “autopilot” to maintain and continue to carry the voice of Palestinian civil society.

He explains that he is working on all fronts to save the agency, pressured by “Israel” and its allies, citing that there has been a “deliberate effort” from “Israel” to dismantle the aid agency.

According to him, the goal is to take away refugee status from the nearly 6 million Palestinians and ensure that their right of return is no longer taken into account in any peace negotiations, which according to him is a “betrayal of the international community.”

He notes that historically, UNRWA has been responsible for the human development of refugees and their descendants until a just and durable political solution is found. “Therefore, if there is any continuation of a refugee agency in Palestine, it is due to the absence of any political solution and certainly not due to the presence of UNRWA.”

Touching on the removal of financial support by numerous Western nations, Lazzarini expressed he was very surprised by the withdrawal of support from Bern, calling it a “disastrous” message, particularly due to a strong feeling in the “Arab world and the southern hemisphere” that human rights and the Geneva Conventions have a “variable geometry.”

Several countries — including the United States, Britain, Germany, and Japan — have suspended funding to UNRWA following unfounded Israeli claims that some of the agency’s staff took part in the Palestinian Resistance Operation Al-Aqsa Flood October 7.


Despite the shortage of funding, Lazzarini believes no other agency has invested as much as UNRWA on neutrality or on investigations and sanctions in the event of failure to respect the values of the UN.

However, he expressed he is “cautiously optimistic,” and feels that even certain countries that suspended their financial support may be reviewing their position, adding that many Gulf nations may increase their contribution.

Lazzarini emphasized that the true issue is not UNRWA itself but rather the Palestinian population and the UN has reported that “Israel” was violating orders issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to protect Palestinians’ rights and cease all activities amounting to genocide.

He questioned who would deliver services to Palestinian refugees if UNRWA were to disappear. 

However, not giving young Palestinians a chance to return to a stable educational environment “would amount to sacrificing a generation,” and further states what he believes is a “cold reality” that is the Gazan children who grow up in the rubble of Gaza will “sow the seeds of hatred.”

He called Gaza an “extremely vibrant civil society” that has been turned into a “zombie population”

He reiterated that an assault on Rafah would drive Palestinians to Egypt and in that regard “Gaza will no longer be a land for Palestinians.”

Lazzarini expressed that the last time he was in Gaza, the people he met “no longer had any light in their eyes,” detailing that what is happening is a “stain on our common sense of humanity.”

UNRWA Chief: Emerging famine in Gaza a ‘man-made disaster’

Lazzarini, stated last week that famine in the Gaza Strip can be prevented if vital aid is allowed into the besieged territory.
In a statement on X, he stated “This is a man-made disaster,” referring to the horrible dangerous conditions Gaza is living through due to the Israeli genocide against it. 

Aid agencies have continuously expressed concern over the fate of Palestinians in Gaza being deprived of their basic needs, as the Israeli occupation forces continue to blockade Gaza, as well as attack anyone attempting to get aid or distribute it.

“The world committed to never let famine happen again,” he added, then urged “Famine can still be avoided through genuine political will to grant access and protection to meaningful assistance.” 

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