Palestinians in Gaza gathered in their thousands to call for the UN to continue its services in the beleaguered Strip.
“Do not leave us hungry” read one of the banners being held by demonstrators.
“UNRWA is taking a number of steps against the refugees, such as a decline in the scope of its work, a cessation of the employment policy, and the suspension of a large number of services in the emergency, health and education programme,” said Hussein Mansour, a member of the Popular Committee for the Liberation of Palestine.
“These come in conjunction with the Zionist plans to bring an end to those who witness the Palestinian Nakba.”
Mansour pointed out that “the UNRWA administration rejected all proposals presented to it by the UNRWA staff union and factions to solve employee problems.”
Youssef Hamdouna, secretary of UNRWA’s staff union in the Gaza Strip, called on the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to intervene to defuse the crisis and stop the deterioration in the provision of services.
“Do not wait,” he said, “for thousands of our students to be left on the street”.
Last week UNRWA dismissed 13 per cent of its emergency programme workers, moved 578 per cent on to part-time contracts and the rest on to temporary contracts which expire at the end of the year. The decision affects nearly 1,000 employees.