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China donates $2m to UNRWA

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with President of China Xi Jinping (R) in Beijing, China on 18 July, 2017 [Palestinian Presidency/ Handout/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with President of China Xi Jinping (R) in Beijing, China on 18 July, 2017 [Palestinian Presidency/ Handout/Anadolu Agency]

China yesterday agreed to donate $2.35 million to the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Quds Press reported.

The donations, the news site said, were allocated to the 2018 food emergency programme in Gaza.

UNRWA's Commissioner General Pierre Krahenbuhl signed the deal with Guo Wei, the director of the Office of the People's Republic of China to the State of Palestine.

Wei said that China supports the Palestinians and their just cause, calling for other countries and governments to support UNRWA.

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Meanwhile, Krahenbuhl said China has historically given "great attention to the issue of Palestine and has always shown attention and solidarity for Palestine refugees throughout the region."

China will provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Palestinians and make further contributions to the UNRWA, he added.

UNRWA has been suffering from a severe budget deficit that may endanger the start of the upcoming school year. The situation has been exacerbated by America's freeze on aid to Palestine since the start of 2018, when President Donald Trump's administration declared an internal review of its policy. The president also announced that $65 million would be withheld from UNRWA, the UN body that provides education, healthcare and social services to Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and occupied East Jerusalem, as well as those Palestinians living in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

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In the wake of cuts to UNRWA funding, the body has been forced to dismiss 13 per cent of its emergency programme workers in the besieged Gaza Strip and move 57 per cent on to part-time contracts. A further 1,000 employees working in emergency programmes are threatened with dismissal. Last week, UNWRA staff in the besieged Gaza Strip protested the move outside the organisation's headquarters, with deputy head of the UNRWA Staff Union, Amal Al-Batsh, saying that "we came today to tell UNRWA that its harsh measures against the employees working in the emergency programme are unacceptable".

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