Gaza City – Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have called on the United States and the United Nations to rescind an agreement for Palestinian refugees, saying the agreement violates many of their rights.
Dozens of people protested in front of the headquarters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Tuesday, calling for an end to The Framework for Co-operation.
They gave the slogan that this structure “denies the right of return of refugees”.
The protesters carried banners reading: “We reject the agreement between the United States and the UNRWA outright” and “the right to return is consistent; we will not give up.”
The Framework for Cooperation is an agreement signed between the United States and UNRWA for 2021-2022 that calls for the resumption of funding for refugee organizations after the closure of the administration of former US President Donald Trump.
Under the framework signed in July, the United States provided R 155 million in additional funding to UNRWA.
“The United States will not contribute to the UNRWA, provided that the UNRWA takes all possible measures to assure that no part of the US contribution will be used to assist refugees who are receiving military training as members. The so-called Palestinian Liberation Army or any other guerrilla type organization or terrorist activities.
The framework includes “observation of the Palestinians [school] Curriculum content. “
The agreement provoked outrage and criticism from Palestinians who saw it as a “threat” to the rights of Palestinian refugees and a “serious change” in the UNRWA’s approach.
Ahmed al-Mudallal, a senior member of Islamic Jihad, told Al Jazeera: “This agreement has been rejected outright by all Palestinian organizations because it is not in line with the UN’s general policy towards Palestinian refugees.
“Through this agreement, UNRWA will act as a security agent for the U.S. state in pursuing employees and refugees who benefit from its services.”
Gaza-based lawyer Salah Abdulatti said the agreement violated the UN Convention, the Refugee Convention and the Agency’s authority.
“The United Nations has no right to impose restrictions on the freedom of expression of refugees on the pretext of signing treaties and in the name of neutrality,” Abdullatti said.
The framework was signed without consultation with the Palestinian Authority or any other Palestinian organization.
Abdulatti described the funding to UNRWA as “conditional” and added that the move was a form of “flakrant blackmailing”.
“The agreement will transform the agency from a service agency to an intelligence agency, with the goal of providing security information,” Abdullatti said.
Baker Abu Safia, a member of the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), said the United States subsidized one-third of the UNRWA budget and then dropped to 5 55 million annually after Trump’s move. Reduction of funds.
“Now, a few years later, the United States will grant 135 million for a deal that sets a dangerous precedent in return for pressure on UNRWA staff,” he said.
Abu Safia said US intervention in Palestinian school curricula on the pretext of “inciting violence” was completely unacceptable.
“The agency’s mission is to keep the cause of the refugees alive and uphold their rights, not to eradicate them,” he said.
Protests will continue
Meanwhile, Mahmoud Khalaf, coordinator of the Joint Refugee Committee, said the framework stipulates “freedom of expression as well as interference in Palestinian curriculum on social media platforms like its employees.”
“Contrary to the agreement with the UN, [school] The curriculum should be according to the host country and it has been implemented for 73 years, ”he told Al Jazeera.
According to Khalaf, the agreement requires UNRWA to provide the US State Department with periodic reports on its work, as well as to respond to all its inquiries.
She said a number of conditions included in the agreement were imposed on the US approach, such as terrorism, anti-Semitism and women’s rights.
Khalaf added that US contributions to the UNRWA are voluntary and should therefore be a condition of the UNRWA mandate.
The Joint Refugee Committee in an official letter called on UNRWA Commissioner-General Philip Lazarini to withdraw the agreement, but it has not yet heard.
“The signing of the US-UNRWA framework and additional assistance shows that we once again have an ongoing partner in the United States that understands the need to provide critical assistance to some of the region’s most at-risk refugees,” Lazarini said in a statement in July.
Khalaf has vowed to protest against the agreement until it is annulled.
“We call on the Palestinian Authority and the host countries of the UNRWA to rescind the agreement and not to accept any conditional funding at the expense of the rights of Palestinian refugees,” Khalaf said.
Our protest will continue until this unjust agreement is withdrawn.