Gaza refugee agency staff on strike over cutbacks, firings

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Gaza employees of the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency have suspended services for a day to protest pay cuts and dismissals.

Schools, clinics, and food distributions were halted on Monday as UNRWA’s 13,000 Palestinian employees in Gaza went on a one-day strike.

They threatened “harsher” surge in protests if the agency didn’t rescind cuts by Thursday.

The United States, the largest single donor to UNRWA, effectively ended its $350 million contribution this year, resulting in a $217 million budget shortfall.

The deficit caused 113 emergency program jobs to be scrapped and 584 staff positions were converted to part-time.

UNRWA provides services to millions of Palestinians and their descendants who fled or were forced from homes in the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation.

Israel accuses the agency of perpetuating the refugee crisis.

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