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Hamas counters UNRWA funding cut with threat to bring students to border

Hamas is promoting a plan to truck UNRWA students to the border with Israel to study in tents in protest of the refugee relief agency's reduced services to Palestinians.
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A wave of criticism has followed the recent remarks of Hamas political bureau member Suhail al-Hindi. Hindi told Felesteen newspaper Sept. 18 that there is a plan to bring the students in UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip to the eastern border with Israel. Critics say Hamas seeks to achieve political objectives by risking children’s lives. Hindi stated that the goal is to force the UNRWA to halt the decline in the provision of basic services to Palestinians, saying, “The UNRWA administration, the occupation and whoever is besieging Gaza shall be blamed for how the tides turn.”

According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, the UNRWA terminated 100 staff members in the health and education sectors, notified 97 engineers that their contacts were downgraded to day labor and sent 105 teachers into forced retirement though their contracts have not expired. It also suspended financial allocations for services and workshops.

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