In an address to a Gaza rally protesting US aid cuts to his organization, Amir al-Mishal, head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) workers’ union in Gaza, exhorted the crowd to use violence to achieve their goals.
The US is the UNRWA’s largest sponsor, providing about one-third of the agency’s total budget. The Trump administration announced in January it was cutting $65 million this year from its budget for UNRWA pending reforms the US wants in the agency.
Israel National News reported on the rally held in Rafah in Southern Gaza on Wednesday. Al-Mishal spoke to the crowd, saying “the people who gathered here came to express their right to return.”
The right of return is the demand by the Palestinian leadership to allow the descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948 to return and retake the land and properties they left behind. Unlike refugees from other countries, the UN maintains that Palestinians do not lose their refugee status after being resettled in a different country. The original number of refugees is estimated to have been around 700,000 but the current number of Palestinians around the world who claim to be their descendants exceeds four million. A recent survey by the Lebanese government discovered that the actual number of Palestinian refugees in their country was 175,000, one third the number claimed by UNRWA.
Al Mishal said to the crowd that “rights are not received with supplication but must be extracted by force.”
URWA was established in 1948 to aid Palestinian refugees from the wars against Israel. It is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict. The agency claims to provide health care, education, and social services. Investigations into UNRWA discovered funds being used to support individuals involved in militant activities. UNRWA school textbooks have been discovered to espouse egregious anti-Israel agendas. In 2014, US Senators demanded an impartial investigation into UNRWA’s alleged participation in the 2014 Gaza-Israel conflict, accusing UNRWA of being complicit with Hamas.
Source: Israel in the News