Thursday, December 27, 2012

UNRWA closes three offices in WB following violence

From Ma'an:
UNRWA is closing three of its West Bank offices because protests are threatening the safety of its staff, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Wednesday.

The UN Relief and Works Agency said in a statement that it was forced to close the offices after protests shifted from peaceful demonstrations to "illegal acts."

During protests, demonstrators stopped UN vehicles and their drivers, and one vehicle was chased away by protesters carrying stones. A female employee was treated badly by protesters, the agency said.

Protests have been held in refugee camps across the West Bank over UNRWA's decision not to renew the contracts of 114 employees due to budget cuts.

"UNRWA reiterates that the decision related to the 114 contracts was the best possible choice we had. We wanted to avoid harming our services as a result of budget limitations. As we made clear before, the safety of our properties and our employees is a red line," the agency said.

UNRWA asked the Palestinian Authority to put an end to the protests, which it said were disrupting operations.
The statement is not on the UNRWA site.

It is unclear exactly what the protesters were doing - and whether UNRWA is downplaying their violence ("carrying stones" and treating someone "badly.")

I find it fascinating that UNRWA decides to stop providing services when their employees are under seemingly little danger. After all, the IDF still works to provide aid to Palestinian Arabs - during wartime - when literally under fire.

Does this mean that the IDF cares more about Palestinian Arabs than UNRWA does?