'US threatens to cut Gaza aid over Hamas audits of NGOs'

State Department: Hamas must drop demand to conduct audits of NGOs, 'NY Times' says; move comes after western diplomat threatens PA funds.

Trucks enter the Gaza Strip 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot)
Trucks enter the Gaza Strip 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot)
The US State Department threatened on Thursday to cut off aid it sends to the Gaza Strip if Hamas continues insisting upon a supervisory role over foreign aid organizations operating in the Strip, The New York Times reported.
After months of tensions with non-governmental organizations, Hamas suspended operations of the International Medical Corps early this week, prompting Washington to issue the threat via a third party, according to the Times.
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The source of the problem is that because Hamas is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, any on-site audits - as demanded by Hamas - would violate rules forbidding direct contact with the organization, putting their American funding at risk, the newspaper said.

Disagreements over the management and supervision of NGOs, however, have not been the only sources of tension with the West recently that threatened US funding to Palestinians.

Earlier this week, a senior Western diplomat said that a Palestinian decision to go ahead with the bid for statehood recognition at the UN in September will “make it harder for the US to have relations with the Palestinian Authority."

According to the diplomat, who requested anonymity, those relations now include both US budgetary support to the PA and the training of Palestinian security forces, something he said had been a “net positive” for the US, Israel and the Palestinian Authority itself.

Herb Keinon contributed to this report