UNRWA's Gaza employees protest Trump's funding freeze

Thousands of employees of UN agency for “Palestinian refugees” protest Trump's suspension of tens of millions of dollars in aid.

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UNRWA employees protest in Gaza
UNRWA employees protest in Gaza

Thousands of employees at the United Nations agency for “Palestinian refugees” on Monday protested in Gaza against U.S. President Donald Trump's suspension of tens of millions of dollars in aid, AFP reported.

The United States suspended $65 million to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) earlier this month, as well as a separate $45 million in food aid.

Thousands of teachers, medical professionals and other staff gathered in Gaza City to protest the cuts that UNRWA officials have warned could threaten the education of more than half a million children.

"By turning out in such huge numbers and peacefully you are giving a powerful message to the world," Matthias Schmale, UNRWA's director in Gaza, told the crowd, according to AFP.

Addressing the United States, he warned Trump of politicizing humanitarian aid for millions of impoverished people.

"You have been our biggest partner for decades, the United States, and you have helped us build one of the most effective and results-orientated public service organizations in the world,” he said.

"Protect this investment -- all these people that are doing something good in the lives of refugees," continued Schmale.

The American cut came following recent tweets by President Donald Trump in which he questioned the wisdom of providing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinian Authority given their refusal to resume peace talks with Israel.

For years, UNRWA has been a target for criticism in light of Hamas's activity in its educational institutions and the use of its facilities by Palestinian Arab terrorist organizations in Gaza.

UNRWA was documented storing Hamas rockets and weapons "designed to kill Israeli citizens" in its schools, a fact which the UNRWA chief admitted himself.

In addition, the organization has actively taken part in inciting anti-Semitic violence.

Following the U.S. cut, Belgium pledged to allocate $23 million to the organization over a period of three years. Britain said it would provide around $69.5 million to the agency.