The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland has decided to provide an additional contribution of 100 million ISK in response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The contribution will be divided between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). This was announced at a cabinet meeting today.
"The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate and the need for humanitarian assistance is critical. Iceland will continue to do its part under these dire circumstances. UNRWA is mandated to provide assistance and protection to Palestine refugees and plays a key role in the UN emergency response on the ground. The International Criminal Court has jurisdiction to investigate suspected violations of international criminal law," says Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson.
With the contribution announced today, Iceland has contributed a total of 240 million ISK in response to the crisis. The contribution to UNRWA is Iceland’s third since the start of the hostilities, placing Iceland among the Agency’s highest contributing countries per capita this year.
UNRWA plays a key role in transporting and distributing essentials such as food and water in Gaza. About 830,000 people, or half of all the internally displaced people in Gaza, have sought refuge in the Agency's emergency shelters, which previously housed UNRWA schools, health care and other services.
On 9 November, a parliamentary resolution was approved by all parties in Alþingi, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, unimpeded access to basic necessities and respect for international law. It reiterates condemnation of the terrorist acts of Hamas, which claimed the lives of more than 1200 people in Israel, and calls for the immediate release of more than 240 hostages held by Hamas, of which around 30 are children. This message has been consistently repeated in Iceland’s statements on this topic, including at the United Nations.