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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Gaza aid update: The despicable UNRWA

The World Food Programme has informed Israeli authorities that it has a full 2 week supply of food and does not want Israel to send any more food to them in Gaza.

In other humanitarian aid news, Israel allowed some 12 Gazans in yesterday for medical treatment. 2 of them were kids who were injured - by a Qassam rocket that fell short.

The UNRWA, as is to be expected, spins facts to make Israel look as bad as possible:
The power plant shut down on Tuesday because Israel has blocked fuel delivery through the main pipeline since Dec. 26, U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said Wednesday. This has forced hospitals to use generators, which have limited fuel supplies, and left many of the 650,000 people in central and northern Gaza with power cuts of 16 hours a day or more, he said.

"The situation remains alarming," Holmes said. "Hospitals are obviously still struggling very much to cope with the number of casualties. We have continued to get some medical supplies in and to help them cope, but this remains difficult and fragile."

Israel has, every day for the past few days, scheduled to open the Nahal Oz crossing for transferring fuel. And every day the Palestinian terrorists that the UNRWA refuses to mention have shot mortars at that very crossing - on Sunday, with fatal results. The despicable UNRWA is blaming Israel for "blocking" fuel shipments and cannot say a single word to their hosts in Gaza about stopping mortar attacks.

The daily Nahal Oz attacks are no longr even mentioned in the media, because mortars are so much more plentiful than Qassams and not as newsworthy as Grads. The Popular Resistance Committees have been the main terrorists to fire at Nahal Oz.

The UNRWA continues its one-sided blame game:

Karen Abu Zayd, commissioner of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which helps Palestinian refugees, told reporters by video link from Gaza that the agency has not distributed any food for two weeks because of the shortage of supplies and the Israeli bombardment.

"I think that means that 20,000 people a day have been without food that they expect — and probably is the bulk of what they get," she said. "So people are doing pretty badly. Everyone we know is sharing whatever they have, not just with their families but with their neighbors."

"We haven't seen widespread hunger. We do see for the very first time ... people going through the rubbish dumps looking for things, people begging, which is quite a new phenomenon as well," she said.

Aby Zayd is using anecdotes to do everything she can to blame Israel, but cannot really explain why there is "no widespread hunger" in Gaza.

And the UNRWA had food before the war - but refused to distribute food to Gazans because they didn't have enough flour. They did have rice, cooking oil and other goods. Now they are blaming Israel for their own pride.

Holmes said the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel was open, with 55 trucks of food and medical supplies and five ambulances getting into Gaza on Tuesday, and about 60 trucks on Wednesday. That compares to 125 truckloads a day in October 2008 and 475 truckloads a day in May 2007, just before Hamas took control of Gaza, he said.
The real numbers were 93 trucks each day. He may be referring only to trucks meant for UNRWA.

Obviously, his comparison with October (when there were almost no rockets) and May 2007 (when all the crossings were still under control of the PA and Israel could easily coordinate the logistics) ignore the danger to Israelis put themselves in to send over humanitarian aid.

Some medical supplies, ambulances and generators also got into Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, he said.
Yet he pointedly does not ask Egypt to increase its trickle of aid - only Israel. Isn't that interesting.
Abu Zayd stressed that her U.N. agency needs 100 trucks of flour a day to meet the needs of refugees.
And yet, after months of much lower numbers of trucks on the average, there is still "no widespread hunger" in Gaza in her own words. Still no one has starved to death. It is a miracle!
But she said Israel has closed down the Karni crossing, the main gateway for cargo into Gaza where it is normally delivered, for security reasons.

She said UNRWA was told by the Israeli humanitarian coordinator that all other crossings aren't open because "there is intelligence about serious preparations for security operations."

"We wonder if it's serious enough to really keep things completely closed and to keep people on their edge of subsistence," she said.

She wonders? While Israel coordinates with multiple aid agencies and countries, arranges to open crossings as much as possible at the same time as it is being attacked every few minutes with rockets, while her hosts brag about the effectiveness of their "resistance" and the number of fancifully named missiles they shoot towards these very crossings - she "wonders" if Israel is really trying hard enough? She "wonders" if perhaps Israeli lives are worthless and whether Israel should sacrifice a dozen or so people so she can get her aid to people who are not dying for lack of aid? Let's parse her colleague's next sentence:
Holmes said "the major needs, apart from medical supplies, remain ... grain and wheat flour and fuel — also cash would be very helpful to enable people to buy supplies."
Way down in their statements, after most people stop reading or listening, Holmes just happens to mention that, oh yes, they have plenty of medical supplies! [UPDATE: The English is ambiguous; a commenter mentioned that they probably mean that they need medical supplies. - EoZ] And guess what - there is access to other goods in Gaza - another miracle - but they just need money to buy it! I guess that the families that are sharing what they have, as Abu Zayd said, are not being as generous as the UNRWA says? Or perhaps Hamas is hoarding flour and then selling it at inflated prices - something that the UNRWA is silent about?

As usual, the UNRWA is being deceptive and it is spending more time blaming Israel for everything rather than actually trying to solve the root problems. Which is why it should be dismantled and replaced with something more effective and honest.