By Hidaya al-Saedi
GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – Employees of the UN refugee agency UNRWA staged a rally in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to protest a recent U.S. fund cut.
Last week, the U.S. State Department announced it was withholding $65 million in aid to Palestine “for further consideration”.
"We reject [any attempt to] blackmail UNRWA, which provides basic relief services for the Palestinian refugees,” Amir al-Mishal, head of UNRWA Services, told the rally held outside an UNRWA office in the northern Gaza Strip.
"Denying six million refugees from humanitarian services, such as health, education and relief poses a threat to world security and peace,” he said.
UNRWA provides services to 5.9 million Palestinian refugees in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The total U.S. contribution to UNRWA in 2017 was above $350 million.
The U.S. fund cuts came one month after President Donald Trump sparked a world outcry by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem -- occupied by Israel since 1967 -- might eventually serve as the capital of an independent Palestinian state.