PA official: We're working closely with the Israeli authorities to ensure aid is delivered to Gaza.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
The Palestinian Authority's Minister of Social Welfare Affairs, Mahmoud Habbash, accused Hamas on Wednesday of confiscating 63 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid while they were on their way to the UN Relief and Works Agency in Gaza.
He also confirmed that Hamas had been torturing and executing Fatah members in the Gaza Strip during and after Operation Cast Lead. Nineteen Palestinians were murdered in cold blood by Hamas, Habbash said, while more than 60 others were shot in the legs.
Ihab Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry in Gaza, confirmed that his men had arrested scores of "collaborators" with Israel during and after the war. However, he refused to say whether the detainees were members of Fatah. He also denied that the detainees were being tortured.
However, Musa Abu Marzouk, a top Hamas official in Syria, confirmed that his movement had executed "collaborators" during the war. He claimed that Fatah members had taken to the streets to blow kisses at IAF planes and handed out candies as they attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.
The latest charges against Hamas came as PA officials in Ramallah said they were coordinating the transfer of aid with Israel.
"We are working very closely with the Israeli authorities to ensure that humanitarian aid is delivered to the Gaza Strip through the border crossings," an official at the PA Economy Ministry said.
He added that since the cease-fire went into effect, the Israel had given permission to more than 150 trucks loaded with food and medicine to enter the Strip through Nahal Oz in the north and Kerem Shalom in the south.
Habbash accused Hamas of intimidating journalists and aid workers during the military operation and preventing them from speaking out without permission from the movement.
Hamas militiamen have been intercepting aid convoys and confiscating food and medical supplies, he claimed. Some Hamas officials had laid their hands on the aid and were selling them.
The minister said his office had received hundreds of complaints from Palestinians in the Gaza Strip about the confiscation of humanitarian aid.
"The people in the Gaza Strip have fallen between the Israeli hammer, which does not distinguish between human beings, animals and trees, and the Hamas anvil, which is depriving thousands of families of the international aid," he said.
The PA leadership had established an "emergency room" in Ramallah to follow up on the humanitarian situation in the Strip from the beginning of the military operation, Habbash said. The unit's task was - and remains - to coordinate relief and aid supplies to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, he said.
The PA was supervising the transfer of the aid, with some of the supplies coming into the West Bank through the border crossings with Jordan, he said.
The PA had also arranged for the transfer of 430 wounded Gazans to Egyptian and other hospitals in the Arab world, Habbash said, adding that more than 4,000 houses had been destroyed, while another 40,000 were damaged and rendered dangerous to live in.
Hamas, for its part, accused the government of PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad of stealing food and medicine supplies donated to the people of the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the Hamas government claimed that some of Fayad's top aides had sold the supplies to merchants in the Strip who, in turn, were selling them in the local market.
Yusef al-Mansi, the housing minister in the Hamas government, announced on Wednesday that Hamas has no objections to coordinating the delivery of relief and aid with any party, including the PA government in Ramallah.
But, he stressed, Hamas insists that all the aid be delivered under its supervision and in coordination with the Hamas government. Some 5,000 Palestinian families have become homeless after their houses were completely destroyed during the war, he said.
var cont = `Sign up for The Jerusalem Post Premium Plus for just $5
Upgrade your reading experience with an ad-free environment and exclusive content