The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) announced Friday that it was suspending all import of aid into the Gaza Strip because Hamas had seized the supplies for the second time this week.
According to the agency's press release the recent looting involved hundreds of tons of food. "During the night of February fifth 10 truckloads of flour and rice were taken from the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing into Gaza," the statement from spokesman Christopher Gunness said.
He said the food "had been imported from Egypt for collection by UNRWA today," but was "taken away by trucks contracted by the Ministry of Social Affairs." The ministry is run by Hamas. "UNRWA's suspension of imports will remain in effect until the aid is returned and the agency is given credible assurances from the Hamas government in Gaza that there will be no repeat of these thefts," the statement said. Gunness added that it was the second such incident in three days. "On Tuesday three thousand five hundred blankets and over four hundred food parcels were taken at gun point from a distribution store in Beach Camp, Gaza. UNRWA has demanded the return of this aid as well," Gunness concluded.
And the Hamas response:
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called UNRWA's decision to suspend its aid to Gaza due to Hamas' theft of supplies "unjustified."
He said Hamas supports UNRWA's work, but believes that some of the agency's employees were giving aid to groups attached to rival political parties. "We as Hamas refuse all use of the people's needs for political ends," he said. He called on UNRWA "to put an end to using aid for political means, and to distribute it to all the needy equally."
Well, well. I can't wait for some progressive to show up here and tell me how noble, honest and upright Hamas really is. Actually, given the large scale thugacracy going on in the Gaza Strip I would bet today there probably a few BBC officials who are breathing a sigh of relief for choosing to exercise a little prudence rather than having a hand in duping the British public into lining the coffers of Hamas.