UN suspends aid to Gaza after accusing Hamas of theft
The United Nations has suspended all food aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after accusing Hamas of stealing 10 lorry-loads of supplies.
By David Blair in Jerusalem
After last month’s war, which claimed 1,300 lives, about half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people are dependent on emergency relief. These are the only supplies which Israel presently allows to pass through the territory’s border crossings.
But the UN’s Relief and Works Agency was forced to close down this operation after gunmen stole food that had been delivered through the Keren Shalom crossing point. A statement from the UN said the supplies had been taken away in lorries used by the social affairs ministry in Gaza’s Hamas-controlled administration.
This was the second incident of wholesale theft of humanitarian aid. On Tuesday, 3,500 blankets and 400 food parcels were taken. The UN said that all deliveries would stop “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”.
Israel has frequently been accused of punishing ordinary Palestinians by restricting the flow of goods into Gaza. The latest incident opens Hamas to the same charge.