Dozens of Palestinian refugees shut yesterday the head office of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip in protest at the international agency’s failure to stem the suffering of the people of the besieged enclave.
According to local sources , the refugees launched a sit-in outside the agency’s office and closed its main gate, demanding it “effectively play its role” in relieving the Palestinians’ suffering and provide them with a “better life”.
The head of the refugees committees in the Gaza strip, Adnan Abu Okal, has accused UNRWA of having its “hand held” in the face of the “tightened” Israeli siege on the enclave.
Speaking at a press conference held at the demonstration, Abu Okal called on UNRWA to play an “effective” role in providing the two-million Gaza residents with electricity, water and food.
He vowed to closed UNRWA’s main office “until Israel lifts the siege.”
The head of the refugees committees in the north of Gaza, Basem Al-Kurd, called on UNRWA to carry out “the tasks for which it was founded back in 1949”. He stressed that Gaza’s residents have been facing severe crises in electricity and water supplies.
The protesters accused the UN agency of “being part of the US-Israeli siege on the enclave.”
The UN has warned that the Gaza Strip will be uninhabitable by 2020, noting that the enclave’s economy is likely to collapse leading to “constantly” deteriorating living conditions.
Israel has been imposing a strict siege on Gaza. For almost 11 years now all the enclave’s border crossings, that connect it with the outside world, have been closed.