UNRWA lays off 100 due to US non-cooperation
Palestinian children sit by sacks of food aid provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in the town of Rafah, in the Southern Gaza Strip, August 22, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Islam Times - A United Nations agency that provides aid for millions of Palestinians across the Middle East has been forced to lay off more than 100 employees in Jordan because of the United States’ refusal to allow the transfer of financial aid to the agency.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced the lay-offs on Tuesday, Jordan’s al-Ghad newspaper reported.
The agency, it said, had started 2018 with a $174-million budget deficit, which is feared to get worse if its financial predicaments exacerbate.
UNRWA staffers have reportedly planned a January 21 sit-in in front of the US Embassy in Amman.
The US has also threatened to cut its contribution to the UN body. It provides about $355 million a year to UNRWA, roughly one-third of the agency’s budget, according to the Associated Press.
“The administration is preparing to withhold tens of millions of dollars from the year’s first contribution, cutting a planned $125-million installment by half or perhaps entirely,” AP cited US officials in Washington as saying this week. The decision could come later on Tuesday.
Israel created a wave of Palestinian refugees numbering in the hundreds of thousands after it overran huge swathes of Arab territories in the Middle East to proclaim existence in 1948. Ever since, many refugees have been scattered across densely-crowded camps in the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, as well as in Jordan and Lebanon.
Jordan alone houses around 350,000 refugees in 13 different camps.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants UNRWA completely abolished.
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