The United States has suspended operations of the aid organizations it funds in the Gaza Strip because the resistance group had demanded confidential information about their work
The United States has suspended operations of the aid organizations it funds in the Gaza Strip because the resistance group had demanded confidential information about their work, a US official told Reuters on Friday.
"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.
He 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 residents."
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 beneficiaries.
He said that Hamas had shut down the International Medical Corps (IMC) an NGO and USAID partner organization, after its officials objected to "unwarranted audits".
"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 Gaza."
Hamas administration official Taher al-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 territory.
The IMC will be allowed to reopen its offices on Saturday or Sunday, 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."