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Vigil held in Nablus to protest the US administration’s cutting of funding to UNRWA

Headline: “Protest vigil in Nablus over the termination of the services of hundreds of employees at UNRWA”

“Dozens of employees at UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) participated today (Tuesday) [July 31, 2018] in a protest vigil over the UNRWA management’s decision to terminate the services of hundreds of employees in the West Bank and Gaza Strip…
UNRWA Arab Workers’ Union Spokesman Muhammad Shalabi told [the official PA news agency] WAFA that the vigil constitutes a continuation of the protest over the [UN] agency’s decision to dismiss 194 employees in the West Bank… and 956 employees in the Gaza Strip. He explained that several of those dismissed have been working at this agency for more than 15 years…
Likewise, he emphasized that the vigil is also being held against the lack of clarity in the UNRWA management’s position regarding the start of the new school year on time in the agency’s schools. He noted that this has caused many residents not to register their children at these schools, which will lead to a drop in the number of students and a merging of classes, and due to this, additional teachers will be in danger of dismissal…
UNRWA Spokesman Sami Mshasha said in a phone conversation with WAFA that the number of employees in the West Bank who are affected by the agency’s decision to stop the special services is 154…
Mshasha added that in the beginning the dismissal was of 194 workers in the West Bank, but the agency succeeded in absorbing some of them in the framework of other programs in the regular budget.
He said that in the Gaza Strip the dismissal is of 955 workers, but the agency absorbed 280 of them in the framework of the regular budget with permanent contracts. Mshasha emphasized that the most important emergency plan that the agency preserved was the distribution of food packages to a million refugees once every three months, and that 540 workers were offered part-time contracts…
Mshasha added that the money that was allocated for the emergency budget stands at approximately $100 million, and all of it comes from the US, which has stopped all of the aid to the agency (see note below –Ed.)…
He explained that the delay in announcing the start of the school year stems from the agency not having obtained the sum that is required to open 700 schools, which provide services to 525,000 male and female students in all of UNRWA’s regions of activity, and he noted that $123 million are needed in order to start the school year.”

In early January 2018, the US froze two planned payments to UNRWA for more than $100 million, and the US administration spoke about the need to reexamine and conduct a reform of the UN body. This occurred after the PA refused to negotiate with Israel and cut diplomatic ties with America following US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Dec. 6, 2017.
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