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MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS © FRANCE 24

Around a dozen donor countries are freezing funding to UNRWA, the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, after Israel alleged that 12 UN staffers took part in the October 7 Hamas attacks. The UN has fired the employees in question and promised a full investigation. The budget cuts come at a profoundly challenging time. A quarter of the population of Gaza is starving, and UNRWA is the biggest aid provider in the enclave. Unless funding resumes, the agency says it will have to stop its operations in the coming weeks. We take a closer look and speak to Johann Soufi, who ran UNRWA’s legal department from 2020 until last year.

Meanwhile, the White House has promised to retaliate after an attack in Jordan that killed three US soldiers, while reiterating that it does not want war with Iran. US officials say “Iran-backed militants” were responsible for the deadly drone attack.

We end with a look at a new movie filmed in Yemen that’s just been released in France. “The Burdened” looks at the taboo issue of abortion through the eyes of two parents who do not want a fourth child.

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