A MONTH after allegations that a dozen United Nations staff were involved in the October 7 Hamas attack, UN investigators have yet to receive any evidence from Israel to support the claims.

The allegations against the 12 employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) led 16 major donors to suspend contributions totalling $450 million at a time when more than two million Gazans are facing famine.

At the time, the Scottish Government confirmed it had “not” paused its funding despite media reports suggesting the opposite.

The UK Government did, however, choose to pause its funding with the relief agency now saying it is approaching “breaking point” and only has sufficient funds to continue functioning for the next month at most.

READ MORE: Poll: SNP set for clear majority of Scottish seats at General Election

The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) launched an investigation on January 29 in the wake of the Israeli allegations initially presented in January and delivered an update on its work to the UN secretary general António Guterres on Wednesday.

Diplomats who saw the OIOS preliminary report said it contained no new evidence from Israel since the initial presentation of the claims in January.

In summarising the findings, UN spokesperson Stephanie Dujarric confirmed the investigation had yet to receive corroborating material from Israel.

She said: “OIOS investigators have reviewed the initial information received by UNRWA from Israeli authorities.

“The investigation remains ongoing. OIOS will seek to corroborate additional information and to compare the information obtained with materials held by Israeli authorities, which OIOS expects to receive shortly.”

She continued: “OIOS staff are planning to visit Israel soon to obtain information from Israeli authorities that may be relevant to the investigation” and added that investigators described member state cooperation as “adequate”.

He said investigators had consulted other member states and visited the UNRWA headquarters in Jordan to review information on UNRWA staff and operations, including electronic communications and data on the use of UN vehicles.

It was reported by the Wall Street Journal last week that an assessment by the US national intelligence council concluded with “low confidence” that a handful of UNRWA staffers had participated in the October 7 attack.

The Israeli mission at the UN referred queries about the investigation to the foreign ministry in Tel Aviv.

The foreign minister, Israel Katz, has said that the government would “give them all the materials that prove UNRWA’s involvement in the terrorism and their damage to the future of the region”.

Since the initial allegations against 12 UNRWA workers, nine of whom are understood to still be alive, Israel has claimed 190 UNRWA employees, including teachers, have also been Hamas or Islamic Jihad militants.

The Israeli military also said a tunnel had been found under UNRWA’s headquarters in Gaza and that guns and ammunition had been found in the building.

Head of UNRWA Philippe Lazzarini said the agency “did not know what is under its headquarters in Gaza,” which he pointed out had been abandoned since an Israeli order to evacuate in October.

Israel has long called for the agency to be dismantled.

Speaking to journalists in Jerusalem on Thursday, Lazzarini said: “It is a little bit shortsighted to believe that UNRWA can just technically hand over all its activities to other UN agencies or NGOs.

“It’s an agency [that’s] quite unique because we are … primarily providing government-like services to one of the most destitute communities in the region."

“The World Food Programme itself has said that it cannot stave off starvation which is already impacting hundreds of thousands of people,” Christopher Gunness, a former UNRWA spokesperson, said.

READ MORE: In Mykolaiv the dark days of 2022 are never far away

“That can only be done by UNRWA, with its 13,000 workers, its warehouses and its food distribution centres.”

“The OIOS report is a ladder on which all the defunding donors can climb down if they wish to and avoid accusations of complicity in starvation and genocide, as well as bowing to the political agenda of Israel’s far right,” Gunness said.

Running parallel to the OIOS inquiry is a broader review of the agency's activities and neutrality, led by a former French foreign minister, Catherine Colonna. 

It was commissioned in January, before the Israeli allegations were made.