Bethlehem demonstration against UNRWA cuts


Over a hundred people demonstrated at the UN headquarters in Bethlehem today against US funding cuts to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)

Called by the Political Committees from five refugee camps in the Bethlehem /Hebron area of the West Bank, the rally was attended by local people, activists and children from the nearby refugee camps.

Abdelfattah Abu Srour, from the Political Committees,spoke to PNN and explained the reasons for the demonstration.

Firstly, it was a protest against the funding cuts implemented by the US government. The Trump administration has slashed its funding to UNRWA from 310 million dollars to 60 million dollars , threatening the work and indeed the very existence of the organisation.

Secondly, the existence of UNRWA and its mandate reflects a recognition by the international community of the special status of Palestinian refugees and the right to return to their homes.

The latter is of particular significance as recent reports reveal the US administrations efforts to undermine and ultimately end the work of UNRWA

Foreign Policy magazine recently reported leaked emails from President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, advocating the elimination of UNRWA and relocating Palestinian refugees to current host countries.

The attacks on UNRWA appear to be a systematic effort to settle the refugee issue as a prelude to the eradication of the Palestinian cause and the abolition of Palestinians’ right to exist.