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January 27, 2014 11:06 am

UNRWA Worker Strike (for More Pay and Free Food) Continues in West Bank

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Palestinian boys raise their hands in a school run by the UNRWA. Photo: UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan.

Ma’an reports:

The families of hunger striking employees of the UN agency for Palestine refugees said Saturdaythat UNRWA would be held responsible for any harm to the strikers’ health.

Family dignitaries told Ma’an that they would “sue the UNRWA administration at all international levels” if necessary.

The hunger strikers’ demands are “just,” and they are supported by their families, the dignitaries said.

They urged the Palestinian Authority to pressure UNRWA to comply with the demands of the strikers.

A group of former UNRWA employees who were laid off at the end of 2013 have been on hunger strike for as many as 28 days, demanding their jobs back and a raise in salaries for Palestinian UNRWA workers.

In addition to the hunger strikers, Palestinian UNRWA employees have been on strike for nearly two months in protest of low salaries and UNRWA policies regarding employees who are detained by the Israeli military.

On Thursday, UNRWA’s administration and unions met in an effort to end the strike,which has kept schools closed and severely limited provisions of basic services to Palestinian refugee camps.

The hunger strikers were not employees but contractors. The UNRWA workers on strike already make more money than PA employees.

But when you are raised in a culture that tells you that you deserve guaranteed employment, free food and medical services, and education, this is how you act when you find out that it isn’t quite so.

I have not yet heard any backlash against the striking UNRWA workers over closing the schools. Normally parents would be upset at the teachers, not their employers, for abandoning their kids. Apparently the parents believe that it is better to stick together with the fiction that Palestinian Arabs are special and deserve special treatment forever, rather than protest against spoiled teachers who refuse to do their jobs in solidarity with even more spoiled workers.

After all, UNRWA is part of the UN and the UN, to Palestinian Arabs, is the organization responsible for their suffering by allowing Israel to exist.

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