UNRWA staff in the besieged Gaza Strip announced a nationwide strike starting Monday 24 September.
During a protest by UNRWA staff outside the agency’s headquarters, the head of the labour union, Amir Al-Mishal, emphasised the rights of refugees and staff and rejected US cuts to the humanitarian body.
“We went out today to say we are against reducing the UNRWA services to refugees and against compromising the security of any of the employees.”
Al-Mishal said the union had provided mediation to resolve the crisis and informed UNRWA’s management that workers are happy to exert efforts to resolve the dispute.
He called on President Mahmoud Abbas to intervene immediately and urgently to resolve the UNRWA crisis, for the government in Gaza to take on its role to achieve the rights of its people, and for the Commissioner-General of UNRWA to intervene quickly.
Last month, the US State Department said Washington would “no longer commit funding” to the UNRWA.
The US had been UNRWA’s largest contributor by far, providing it with $350 million annually — roughly a quarter of the agency’s overall budget.
Established in 1949, UNRWA provides critical aid to Palestinian refugees in the blockaded Gaza Strip, the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.