Italy resumes UNRWA funding for Palestinians

STORY: Italy became the latest country on Saturday (May 25) to resume funding for the United Nations' Palestinian relief organization UNRWA.

It made the announcement on a visit to Rome by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told Mustafa that Italy supported efforts towards a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza, the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas and improved humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, her office said in a statement.

Italy was one of a number of countries to block aid for UNRWA following accusations by Israel that some of the agency's staff were involved in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel that triggered the Gaza war.

The step came a day after judges at the U.N.'s World Court ordered Israel to immediately halt its military assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, in a landmark emergency ruling in South Africa's case accusing Israel of genocide.

Foreign minister Antonio Tajani announced a 35 million euro, or $38 million, aid package for the Palestinians, of which five million euros would go to UNRWA projects.

UNRWA employs 13,000 people in Gaza, running the enclave's schools, its primary healthcare clinics and other social services, and distributing humanitarian aid.

It has set out an action plan to better ensure its impartiality, strengthen internal reviews, and improve how its staff are monitored.

In recent weeks, several countries have resumed funding the agency, including Austria and Germany.