Dozens of Gazan teachers and students from schools affiliated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staged a protest on Thursday against recent reductions of U.S. financial aid to the organization.
Participants at the demonstration, which was organized by several Palestinian political factions, held banners aloft, reading: “We are committed to the right of return” and “No to American arrogance”.
Mahmoud Khalaf, a leading member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, told Anadolu Agency that Thursday’s protest was meant to “reiterate our rejection of this decision, which has deeply impacted UNRWA’s financial position”
“These aid cuts have adversely affected the living standards of all Palestinian refugees, especially in the education and health sectors,” Khalaf said.
He went on to describe the aid reduction as “a political strategy aimed at terminating the right of Palestinian refugees to return [to historical Palestine]”.
The U.S. administration, he added, “wants to take the refugee issue off the negotiating table”.
Established in 1949, UNRWA provides services to almost 6 million Palestinian refugees in the occupied Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
Last year, the U.S. contributed more than $350 million to the refugee agency.
The funding cuts were announced in January, one month after U.S. President Donald Trump sparked outcry across the Middle East by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.