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US suspends aid to Gaza

Al-Manar | August 13, 2011

The United States has suspended operations of the aid organizations it funds in the Gaza Strip because the resistance group had demanded confidential information about their work, a US official told Reuters on Friday.

“USAID-funded partner organizations operating in Gaza are forced by Hamas’s actions to suspend their assistance work. (They) were put on hold effective August 12,” said the official, who is based in the region.

He added that “through a series of measures (Hamas) has imposed over the past months, it has created an environment which jeopardizes the ability of nongovernmental organizations to provide assistance to Gaza’s most vulnerable residents.”

The official, who declined to be named, said Hamas had demanded access to files and records of NGOs, which would reveal financial and administrative information, details of staff members and information on beneficiaries.

He said that Hamas had shut down the International Medical Corps (IMC) an NGO and USAID partner organization, after its officials objected to “unwarranted audits”.

“We are disappointed that Hamas has once again chosen to put its political agenda ahead of the welfare of the Palestinian people,” the official said, calling on the group “to cease its interference … so that we can resume our humanitarian and development activities in Gaza.”

Hamas administration official Taher al-Nono said an understanding had been reached which would allow independent auditing teams to inspect the files of NGOs, but he added that Hamas had the right to monitor their work in the territory.

The IMC will be allowed to reopen its offices on Saturday or Sunday, he added.

Responding to the USAID decision to suspend its partner organizations’ work, Nono said “Such a decision sounds odd a day after the understanding was reached … we reject any foreign intervention in Palestinian affairs.”

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Ma’an | August 13, 2011

GAZA CITY — The Palestinian movement 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 movement controlling the Palestinian enclave said.

A day earlier, a US official announced that USAID was halting humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip over alleged meddling by the Hamas-led government, which the US considers a terrorist group. […]

… a [Hamas] spokesman in Gaza insisted Friday that the government should be able to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by the US Agency for International Development in the Palestinian territories.

“The minister of interior of the government of Hamas intends to exercise its legal rights in the surveillance of all institutions operating in Gaza,” spokesman Taher al-Nunu said.

He complained that “USAID refuses to recognise the government in Gaza,” adding that anyone who “wishes to work in Palestinian territory must obey its laws.”

A similar row was underway in Cairo where a notorious Egyptian intelligence apparatus is probing foreign funding of civil society groups sparking tensions between Washington and Egypt’s ruling generals, judicial sources said.

August 13, 2011 - Posted by | Subjugation - Torture

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