Sunday, August 14, 2011

Great news! Flow of US money to Hamas saved

We can all breathe a sigh of relief. Hamas won't have to spend any of its Qassam-rocket money on bothersome medical care or anything like that. From Maan News:
Hamas and the US Agency for International Development have reached a compromise to maintain the flow of aid, a senior Hamas official said Saturday.

"We've reached a compromise with USAID through the United Nations" to allow the continuation of aid, which was suspended by Washington on Friday, the official of the Islamist movement controlling the Palestinian enclave told AFP.

Hamas, as a result of the agreement, renounces for a "three-month period" its demand to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by the US Agency for International Development in the Palestinian territories, he said.

"We are keen on the continuation of the international institutions' work and their services to our people," he said.

The Hamas official, who participated in the mediated talks, said the sides were now working towards an agreement on mechanisms that ensure "transparency and internal accountability of these international organizations."

There will be "no control over their work," he added.

A UN official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said the United Nations had "made major efforts to end this crisis and reach a good agreement."

A US official on Friday said USAID was halting humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip over alleged meddling by Hamas, which Washington and Israel designate as a terrorist organization.

"We deeply regret that USAID-funded partner organizations operating in Gaza are forced by Hamas's actions to suspend their assistance work," the official said on condition of anonymity.

"USAID assistance programs were put on hold effective August 12," he added.

"Hamas, through a series of measures it has imposed over the past months, has created an environment which jeopardizes the ability of non-governmental organizations to provide assistance to Gaza's most vulnerable residents," the official said.

He said all US partner organizations would suspend their activities funded by the United States until these are able "to operate without interference or harassment from Hamas."

An official in Washington said he understood that Hamas has been demanding access to physically search files and records of NGOs, which would be unprecedented.

Referring to NGO the International Medical Corps, the first official said that when "the organization objected to the unwarranted audits, Hamas responded by closing down the organization's office in Gaza.

"These types of physical searches of NGO offices and records are unprecedented and represent a significant increase in the harassment of humanitarian relief and development organizations operating in Gaza."

Hamas insisted on Friday that it should be able to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by USAID in the Palestinian territories.

The movement's spokesman Taher Al-Nunu complained that "USAID refuses to recognize the government in Gaza," adding that anyone who "wishes to work in Palestinian territory must obey its laws." [...]
And how will they know if they are disobeying any laws if they can't ransack all the records? Shame on the NGOs for not allowing it! I think this calls for a flotilla . . .

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