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Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday expressed outrage over a decision by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) to lay off hundreds dozens of its its employees.
Several employees fainted when they heard they had lost their jobs. One worker poured gasoline over his body and tried to set himself on fire before he was stopped by his co-workers.
Sources in the Gaza Strip said that some 1,000 employees have been affected by UNRWA’s latest measures, which include the immediate dismissal of 125 workers from the agency’s emergency program. UNRWA employees in the West Bank will also be affected by the measures.

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Another 570 UNRWA employees were notified that they would be hired only on a part-time basis, while an additional 270 were told that their contracts would be terminated at the end of the year if the financial crisis is not resolved.

The financial crisis is the direct result of the US administration’s decision to suspend more than half of the annual funding ($65 million out of $125 million) to UNRWA.

Palestinians see the US administration’s move as being part of an Israeli-US “conspiracy” to “liquidate the right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to their former homes inside Israel.

They believe that US President Donald Trump has decided to gradually eliminate UNRWA so as to remove the issue of the refugees from the negotiating table between Palestinians and Israel. The Palestinians are convinced that the US administration’s decision to cut funds to UNRWA by half are part of the yet-to-be-announced Trump plan for peace in the Middle East, which is also known as the “deal of the century” or the “ultimate deal.”
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