Palestinian holds IRC sign outside Hamas_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
A day after the United States said it had cut aid to Gaza, a Hamas official said
the Islamist group and the United States have reached a compromise that will
allow USAID to continue its operations in the Gaza Strip, AFP
The deal was reached by Hamas and USAID “through the United
Nations,” the Hamas official said.
Western diplomat: Statehood bid will hinder US/PA ties
US foreign aid package may put conditions on PA funding
'US threatens to cut Gaza aid over Hamas audits of NGOs'
On Friday, a US official told Reuters
that the US had suspended operations
of the aid organizations it funds in the
Gaza Strip because Hamas had demanded confidential information about their
“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.
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
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
He said that Hamas had shut down the International Medical
Corps, an NGO and USAID partner organization, after its officials objected to
“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
Palestinian-based NGOs funded by the European Union have in the
past also complained of Hamas meddling in their affairs.
administration official Taher 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
The International Medical Corps would be allowed to reopen its
offices in the next day or two, 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.”
The US official said some
600,000 Gazans – about a third of the population of the coastal strip – were
receiving some $98 million worth of assistance from USAID projects in health,
education, construction and infrastructure.Reuters contributed to this report