Under the new arrangement, which came into effect with the new year, every Palestinian refugee receiving medical services or hospitalization through UNRWA must pay 5 percent of their bill at hospitals run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, and 15 percent at government hospitals. Previously, UNRWA covered all expenses.Thousands protested the fact that they will have to pay for a small part of their medical bills.
Furthermore, the new system calls for the suspension of coverage to Palestinians who have Lebanese nationality or other Palestinians with dual citizenship.
Popular committees, local bodies and Palestinian civil society groups all said they would not accept the new system, arguing that medical services should be developed further, rather than cut back
And one young man set himself on fire.
A 23-year-old Palestinian national Tuesday set himself on fire outside a clinic managed by the U.N. refugee agency in the southern district of Tyre over aid cuts.Protesters in the Ain al-Hilweh camp closed the medical clinic and several UNRWA schools today, thereby making it harder for people to get services. This is a repeat of a pattern of anti-UNRWA protests that go back to the 1950s as Arabs demand 100% of their expenses paid, forever.
Mohammad Omar Khodeir self immolated to protest aid cuts by UNRWA in the Burj al-Shamali Palestinian refugee camp.
Khodeir suffers from thalassemia, a hereditary blood disorder, but couldn't afford hospitalization costs.
A Palestinian official said the situation at the camp has been desperate since last year, and warned UNRWA of the consequence of cutting their aid.
“We all feel the danger,” he said.
A third official warned of strikes at all UNRWA offices inside Lebanon's 12 Palestinian refugee camps to protest the aid cuts.
UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness has not tweeted about any of this even though the protests started last week.