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BRUSSELS — The European Union said it’s offering an extra $46 million to the UN Palestinian refugee agency to help educate children and provide health care in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The EU move announced Friday is intended to help fill a $217 million budget shortfall left after the United States effectively ended its $350 million contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

The deficit led to the elimination of 113 jobs and 584 staff positions being converted to part-time. UNWRA’s Gaza employees went on strike Monday to protest pay cuts and dismissals.

The agency serves millions of Palestinians who fled or were forced from homes in the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, and their descendants.

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Israel accuses UNWRA of perpetuating the refugee crisis.

Associated Press