Friday, 6 February 2009

Hamas 'steals' UN Aid

In Gaza the UN said it has suspended all aid shipments, accusing the Hamas government of seizing hundreds of tonnes of food supplies. Ten lorries carrying flour and rice were taken from the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing, the UN's Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa) said.

Hamas admitted a "mistake" had been made and says it will return the goods, but Unrwa says deliveries will not restart until it has assurances that such seizures will not happen again. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Hamas must immediately release the seized aid shipments. He also called on Hamas "to refrain from interference with the provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance in Gaza". Unrwa said the food had been imported from Egypt, and had been due to be collected by its staff at the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza on Friday. "The food was taken away by trucks contracted by the ministry of social affairs," the agency said in a statement.

Hamas denied it had confiscated any supplies, saying it was a misunderstanding between drivers. Hamas itself has given very limited financial assistance to some of the thousands of Gazans whose homes were destroyed in the Israeli offensive. The perception of many in the territory is that the group is only helping its own supporters!

Gaza is facing a humanitarian crisis after Israel's recent three-week offensive. About half the population is dependent on UN food aid.,27574,25011053-23109,00.html


Paul Anderson said...

My friends were protesting the lack of Aid to Gaza, and the right of Hamas to rule. But this sure makes them all feel "played".

Adrian Windisch said...

The situation is complicated, there is no clear good or evil authority here.

I feel sorry for the people of Gaza who it seems have little choice but to live with this situation.