The State Department admitted Thursday that humanitarian aid sent to Gaza could easily end up in Hamas’ control.
At the department’s press briefing, spokesman Matthew Miller revealed that Israel is warning about sending money directly into Gaza to benefit innocent civilians because Hamas controls everything in the Gaza Strip.
“The concern the Israeli government has — and they’ve said this publicly and they’ve certainly said it privately to us — is that any assistance that goes in will be diverted once it’s inside Gaza,” Miller revealed.
“There’s not an Israeli military force in Gaza, there’s not a U.N. peacekeeping force in Gaza. The people with guns inside Gaza are Hamas,” he explained. “And so Hamas may try to divert this assistance and keep it from getting to the civilians who it is intended for.”
Because Hamas controls Gaza, the U.S. government has a “legitimate concern” that any aid sent to Gaza will be taken by Hamas and directed toward its war effort against Israel, Miller added.
While in Israel on Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced that $100 million in taxpayer dollars will be sent to the Palestinians in the form of humanitarian relief.
Biden told Hamas not to steal the money but did not warn of any consequences aside from the money tap drying up. The Biden administration has not said how U.S. officials will prevent Hamas from stuffing its coffers with the aid. Miller only said the State Department is working on “mechanisms” for the delivery of the money but did not elaborate further.
There have already been allegations of Hamas stealing materials meant for innocent Palestinian civilians.
On Sunday, the United Nations agency responsible for supporting Palestinian refugees — the UNRWA, officially known as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East — released a statement accusing Hamas authorities of raiding a UNRWA compound in Gaza City of fuel and critical medical supplies.
The agency later suspiciously walked back that statement. But United Nations and Israeli sources confirmed it was true.
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