Palestinian refugees in Gaza protest UN aid cuts

Hundreds of Palestinian refugees have held a demonstration in the besieged Gaza Strip against recent aid cuts by the UN relief agency, Press TVreports.

The protesters said the cuts by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have made life even harder for them in the coastal enclave, which is under an Israeli blockade, a Press TV correspondent reported on Sunday.

The demonstration was organized by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The protesters demanded UNRWA resume cash assistance and food coupons to thousands of refugees who were cut off by the aid agency.

The cuts have drawn angry reaction from Palestinian refugees in the blockaded territory.

“UNRWA is paying high salaries to its director and executives. It must give us our aid instead of paying high salaries to its executives,” a Palestinian complained.

“The Saudis who are sitting idle while we are suffering here should be ashamed of themselves. Shame on all the Arabs who remain silent while Palestinian refugees are living on handouts. We are only asking for what is rightfully ours, we are not begging from UNRWA,” a female refugee told Press TV.

About 70 percent of Gaza’s more than 1.7 million population are refugees who have been displaced from the Palestine land in 1948. They depend on UNRWA for aid and other basic services.

“UNRWA is not telling the truth, they are cutting people off. And UNRWA services have deteriorated both in health and education for Palestinian refugees. Reducing or cutting aid while people of Gaza are under Israeli embargo will only increase the suffering,” an official from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine told Press TV.

The UNRWA has rejected that there have been any cuts.

“It is not the cutoffs. We got something from those who we thought do not deserve aid, according to our poverty survey, and we gave that to the deserving people,” Said Adnan Abu Hasna, the UNRWA spokesman in Gaza.

“Right now we are servicing more than 800,000 people in the Gaza Strip on regular basis. They are receiving food from us,” he added.

Gaza has been blockaded by the regime in Tel Aviv since 2007, a situation which has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

After Israel’s assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters on May 31, 2010, in which nine civilians were killed, Tel Aviv slightly eased the land blockade of Gaza, allowing in more consumer goods.

However, the naval siege of the Gaza Strip remains in place, exports are banned, and imports of raw materials and construction materials are restricted.

By Press TV


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