Monday, September 28 2020


Union says will shut down UN Gaza refugee office

Update: September, 28/2018 - 11:00
Palestinian employees of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) take part in a protest in Gaza City against job cuts by UNRWA on September 19, 2018. — AFP Photo
Viet Nam News

GAZA CITY — The union of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Thursday it would force the agency’s Gaza office to shut down indefinitely from Sunday, to protest job losses caused by US funding cuts.

The United States has traditionally been UNRWA’s largest contributor, providing around US$350 million a year.

But President Donald Trump cut all support last month, sparking a funding crisis.

Around 13,000 people work for UNRWA in Gaza, where more than two-thirds of the roughly two million residents are eligible for aid.

More than 250 jobs have been cut in Gaza and the West Bank so far, while hundreds of full-time roles have become part-time.

"There is no money for (local) staff but the foreign employees are getting paid," said Nadia Aid, 40, whose unemployed husband and six children depended on her salary as a full-time social worker. Her job has been downscaled to part-time.

Another UNRWA worker, Fatma Assi, said she was sole breadwinner for 10 people, but received a dismissal letter after 14 years in her job.

"Where am I going to find work at 50 years old in Gaza?" she asked. The United States has accused Palestinian leaders of rejecting outright a still unseen US peace plan, while in turn the Trump administration is viewed by the Palestinians as being biased in favour of Israel.

The termination of funding by the US was welcomed by Israel along with Washington’s challenge to UNRWA’s classification of millions of Palestinians as refugees.

UNRWA says more than 200,000 Palestinians attend its schools in the Gaza Strip.

More than 750,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

They and all their descendants are deemed by the UN agency to be refugees who fall under its remit. — AFP

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