'Israel, Hamas delaying US aid efforts'

US: Unclear Israeli bureaucracy delays deployment of new PA forces.

aid into gaza 190.114 (photo credit: AP)
aid into gaza 190.114
(photo credit: AP)
Two recently released US Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on US aid to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza laid blame on the Israeli government for delays in the creation of newly-trained Palestinian Authority security forces and in the dispersal of US humanitarian aid to Gaza.
The first GAO report,  presented to the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs and its subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia on May 11, specifically mentioned that the lack of consistently applied guidelines for the approval of shipments of equipment to the American-trained Palestinian National Security Forces in the West Bank had delayed their successful deployment.
RELATED:The humanitarian showBlair: Aid flotillas not helpful
The report read, "[The] State [Department] and EU donor officials told us that the Government of Israel has not agreed to specific procedures for pre-approval of equipment orders" but rather on  "a case-by-case basis."  It continued to explain that the lack of an agreed upon time frame between Israeli authorities  and other involved parties for the review and approval of equipment requests impeded the United States Security Coordinators team's ability to estimate equipment delivery dates, leading Palestinian National Security Force and Presidential Guard units to operate months after finishing training without needed equipment.
The second report, presented  to the House committee on May 14, described the difficulties USAID officials were managing aid programs in Gaza as well because of "long delays in gaining Government of Israel approval of necessary shipments of materials, obstacles to staff movement in and out of Gaza, and interference with US supported programs by the Hamas-led de facto authorities in Gaza."
According to the second GAO report, since Hamas seized control of Gaza in June 2007, USAID officials have directed most economic assistance funds to programs in the West Bank, with programs in Gaza focused entirely on humanitarian needs.