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Dismissed UNRWA employees protest in Bethlehem tent

Dec. 17, 2012 7:42 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 17, 2012 7:42 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Former employees of UNRWA are protesting their dismissal in a tent in Duheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees has laid off over 100 employees in what it says is a last resort after a reduction in donor funding.

Hussein Shamarkha, 40, worked as a an assistant physiotherapist for UNRWA for 12 years on a temporary contract that has not been renewed.

Shamarkha is protesting his dismissal at the tent in Duheisha camp, where he lives with his five children in his father's home. His father was displaced from Zakariyya in 1948 during the creation of the state of Israel.

He has served al-Amari, al-Jalazoun and Qalandia refugee camps for UNRWA. Previously Shamarkha worked as a physiotherapist at hospitals in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and al-Khader.

Sharmarkha has a brain tumor and pays around $200 a month in medical bills. The Palestinian Authority referred him to Jordan for treatment but he refused an operation due to the risks of the procedure.

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