Thousands Protest US Reduction in Aid to UNRWA

While schools, clinics, and food distribution centers closed for a one-day strike on Monday, thousands filled the streets in the Gaza Strip’s Gaza City to protest the reduction in aid for the United Nations Relief Works Agency that has been implemented by the United States. More than 13,000 Gazans are employed by UNRWA, but the reduction in the American donation by more than half has sparked fears of massive layoffs and even the agency’s closing. Despite years of complaints by Israel and its supporters that UNRWA altered criteria for support to fit the Palestinians unlike any other refugee group and that it unfairly singles out Israel for complaints and blames, the seminal event occurred when President Donald Trump accused the Palestinians of being disrespectful toward Vice President Pence by boycotting his visit to the region. He charged that the Palestinians take but don’t reciprocate. The president said “millions” are on the table but won’t go to the Palestinians unless the Palestinian Authority “sit[s] down and negotiates peace.”

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