A demonstrator holds a Palestinian flag during a protest against Jewish settlements in the village of Ras Karkar, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank August 30, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
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Palestinian refugees reacted with dismay Saturday to a United States decision to halt funding to a U.N. agency, warning that it would lead to more poverty, anger and instability in the Middle East.The U.S. announcement Friday that it will no longer support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has deepened a cash crisis at the agency, and heightened tensions with the Palestinian leadership.The 68-year-old UNRWA provides services to about 5 million Palestinian refugees across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank and Gaza. Most are descendants of the roughly 700,000 Palestinians who were driven out of their homes or fled the fighting in the 1948 war that led to Israel's creation.Gunness said UNRWA provides health clinics, schooling for 526,000 refugee children across Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and food assistance to 1.7 million people – a million of them in Gaza.The last Palestinian-Israeli peace talks collapsed in 2014, partly because of Israel's opposition to an attempted unity pact between the Fatah and Hamas Palestinian factions and to Israeli settlement building on occupied land that Palestinians seek for a state.
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