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7. Protest in Gaza against funding halt by US

Palestinian people in Gaza have protested the US decision to withhold its contribution to a UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees.

Protestors gathered in front of an office of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA, on Wednesday. Gaza is under an economic blockade by Israel.

The protestors held banners, including one saying "No to threats by the US and others against Palestinians."

One participant said that without assistance, refugee livelihood will be at risk because they don't have factories and funds.

In Gaza, about 1 million people, or more than half of the population, rely on food aid from UNRWA. The agency also provides education, medical care, and employment.

The US government said on Tuesday it would freeze more than half of the country's planned contribution to the UN agency for the time being.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl has announced he will visit Japan next Tuesday to ask for emergency assistance.

The agency says educational and medical aid for Palestinian refugees is facing a serious crisis.

The US contributed 368 million dollars to UNRWA in 2016, or about 30 percent of the total, making it the largest contributor. Japan provided 44 million dollars, the 7th largest amount.
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