The UN Relief and Works agency, that provides a vital lifeline to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, has suspended its operations after Hamas seized a supplies convoy at a border crossing.
Earlier this week, the UN accused Hamas police of stealing thousands of blankets and food parcels from a UN store in Gaza. “Ten truckloads of rice and flour were confiscated from the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom crossing. They were taken away by trucks contracted by the Palestinian Ministry of Social Welfare and Social Affairs. Our position is very clear. Until we get all of this aid back and until we receive credible assurances from the Hamas government, the suspension of our aid imports into Gaza will continue,” said a UN spokesman. Hamas leader Khaled Meeshal has addressed the aid question in Damascus on Friday. Hamas called the seizure a mistake, adding that it would be returned. It blamed confusion during loading at the crossing, where no Hamas representative was present. Some 80 percent of Gaza’s 1.4 million people rely on the UN for food and other support.