United Nations Relief and Works Agency Reopens Gaza Food Distribution Centers

Protests Last Week Led To Raid of Center That Feeds 800K Gazans

By Reuters

Published April 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The main U.N. humanitarian agency for Palestinians said on Monday it was reopening its Gaza food distribution centers after suspending operations last week in response to violent protests over aid cutbacks.

The centres, which the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) closed on Thursday after demonstrators stormed its headquarters, supply food to 800,000 Palestinians - nearly half the population of the impoverished Gaza Strip.

Announcing that food distribution centres and relief offices would reopen on Tuesday, Adnan Abu Hasna, UNRWA’s Gaza media adviser, said the agency had received “assurances from the relevant parties over the safety of its staff”.

The violence on Thursday was part of a dispute that had been brewing for weeks in the territory, which is governed by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Robert Turner, UNRWA’s director of Gaza operations, said the agency faced a $68 million shortfall in 2013 and that it had decided to cut a $40 annual handout to 106,000 Gaza refugees to save some $5.5 million. To soften the blow, the agency offered job programmes to help the poorest families.

Police were deployed outside UNRWA headquarters on Monday to prevent any recurrence of Thursday’s events. Contacts between the agency and the Hamas government, and meetings between UNRWA officials and refugee committees helped to defuse tensions.

In a statement, UNRWA said it understood the “frustration of the population heightened by the tightened (Israeli) blockade” of the Gaza Strip, a reference to border and fishing zone restrictions Israel strengthened after Palestinian rocket attacks.

But, the statement said, UNRWA must ensure the safety and security of its staff, and would close its installations again if its personnel or facilities were threatened.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.