efe-epaBethlehem

Palestinians staged a solidarity rally on Wednesday in the city of Bethlehem to support the upcoming speech at the United Nations General Assembly by the president of the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, as documented by an epa-EFE journalist.

Mahmoud Abbas is set to speak in New York on Thursday, and is expected to address the United States' recent decision to cut hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, which provides education, health care and relief services.

Demonstrators ranging from schoolchildren to an elderly man in traditional dress raised both Palestinian and UN flags outside the president's office in Bethlehem, as seen in epa-EFE photos.

Some held signs in Arabic saying "We will return" and "Our rights cannot be bargained away," while others stood under a giant banner printed to look like a UNRWA refugee card bearing Abbas' image.

Abbas, who has run the Palestinian Authority government since the death of Yasser Arafat in 2004, is also expected to present an alternative to US President Donald Trump's peace plan.

The Trump administration has pursued policies, such as abandoning the so-called "two-state solution," moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and cutting funding to UNRWA, that aim to force Palestinians to accept a peace deal that gives up many of their national aspirations.