Hundreds protest in Gaza over UN agency dismissals, pay cuts

Hundreds of employees of the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) held a demonstration in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in protest of sweeping pay cuts and layoffs, AP said. The protesters held a sit-in at the organization’s Gaza City headquarters. UNRWA recently fired 125 Gaza employees and downgraded another 580 to contract workers. Earlier this year, the US cut around $300 million in funding to UNRWA, resulting in a $217 million budget shortfall. The agency provides basic services to millions of Palestinians and their descendants, made refugees in Gaza, West Bank and neighboring Arab countries after Israel’s creation in 1948. Israel contends UNRWA perpetuates the refugee problem.