UNRWA evacuates 10 senior officials from Gaza to Israel due to death threats
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) had evacuated ten international employees from Gaza to Israel on Monday.
The agency’s senior officials were rescued and transferred to Israeli territory via the Erez crossing.
The move was prompted by death threats made to UNRWA’s international employees by the organization’s Gazan employees.
“The evacuation was coordinated with the Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) for Gaza. It should be noted that the Hamas terror organization has not prevented acts of violence against UNRWA’s international employees”, the COGAT, Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, said in a statement.
UNRWA’s employees launched a general strike Monday in protest of the agency’s decision to fire 100 UNRWA workers in Gaza.
In addition to the demonstrations held in front of UNRWA headquarters, employees blocked the entrance to the Al Deira Hotel in Gaza while Matthias Schmale, the agency’s Gaza Director met with the agency’s security officer.
Hamas security forces arrived at the hotel’s entrance to prevent the demonstrators from breaking into the hotel.
Two months ago, it had been announced that 154 UNRWA employees from Judea-Samaria and 113 from Gaza are expected to be laid off following the US decision to withhold hundreds of millions in aid.
UNRWA is an organization that perpetuates the Palestinian refugee problem, creating a situation in which there are great-grandchildren of refugees, who are not refugees but who are cared for by the agency.
In addition to contributions to UNRWA, the United States has provided direct, bilateral assistance to Judea-Samaria and Gaza. Last month, the State Department announced that more than $200 million in already-appropriated aid for this year would be “redirected” elsewhere.
The cuts in funding, along with shifts in policy, including recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, are part of a major reshaping of Middle East policy under President Donald Trump.