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Palestinians in Gaza demand int’l community save UNRWA from collapse


/ Middle East: A organized by Palestinian factions was held outside the headquarters of UNRWA in Gaza, coinciding with the donors’ conference in the Belgian capital, Brussels.

Protesters carried the Palestinian flag and banners calling on donor countries to provide more support for the refugee agency, which provides critical support to many of Gaza’s 2.1 million population.

Walid al-Awad, a senior official at the ’s Party, called for the right to return for Palestinian refugees – who make up a large proportion of Gaza’s population – according to Resolution 194.

“This demonstration is not [begging] the international community, but rather to demand a right that has been stolen for 73 years and still exists, and no right will fall behind demands,” he said.

He called on donor countries to assume their responsibilities towards Palestinians by providing sustainable support.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini has warned that the agency faced imminent collapse due to a lack of funding and has urged donor countries to step up their contributions.

“The funding for the organization has not increased in nearly 10 years,” he told last week.

Zaher Al-Bana, a member of the joint committee for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, told The New Arab that to ensure consistent support for the UNRWA, Arab states should not pick up the shortfall for other donor countries and avoid naturalizing Palestinians.

He said he hoped the Brussels conference would lead to sustainable support for the UNRWA.

“The popular activities demanding the rights of refugees and adhering to the UN agency will be continued until we achieve our legal demands,” he explained.

Earlier in the day, around 60 countries and organizations convened in the capital Brussels under the auspices of Jordan and to discuss resuming the financial support to the UN agency and the Palestinian Authority.

The UNRWA was established by the in 1949 and was mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5.6 million Palestinians in the , Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

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