Thursday, February 08, 2024

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Rafah, February 8 - The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees announced today a raft of measures to meet the challenges inherent in the organization losing much of its budget by the end of this month because of ties to terrorism, measures that will include an event or series of events in which Gazans will prepare cakes, pastries, and other confections, and market them to passers-by, with the proceeds helping to cover some of the hundreds of millions in shortfall. The supplies for the event will come from the organization's own Hamas-run warehouses, where the goods are kept safe from the Gaza residents who might otherwise obtain them for free, as intended.

The United States, the European Commission, Austria, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia, Australia, and Lithuania, among others, declared a suspension of funding UNRWA unless and until the body undergoes an overhaul of its policies, culture, and procedures, in the wake of damning evidence that not only did some UNRWA staff participate in the atrocities of October 7 last year, numerous employees have direct Hamas associations, with half the workers connected to the terrorist group through family. Video and documentary evidence also shows that thousands of UNRWA teachers, for example, celebrate terrorism, and that nothing the organization does in the Gaza Strip can happen without approval and direction from Hamas itself, which appropriates aid goods and funds for its own purposes.

Analysts see the bake sale announcement as an extension of existing Hamas-UNRWA practices. "The UNRWA-provided foodstuffs are meant to be distributed to Gaza residents," explained Matan Shetten of the RAND Corporation. "But no one gets it free except the well-connected among Hamas itself. Everyone else has to buy it. It's even sold at retail in supermarkets. So what we have here with the bake sale is more of the same: Hamas-UNRWA extracting every last shekel from ordinary Palestinians, and letting only the barest amount of aid of any kind trickle down to the people."

"Who's going to buy the cakes - Egypt?" he continued. "No, the only people in Gaza are Gazans; Israeli soldiers, who wouldn't be interested; and Israeli hostages of Hamas, who have no access to the bake sale or money with which to buy anything. That just means more money siphoned away from the people who need it most."

A spokeswoman for UNRWA continued to insist today that every bag of flour is strictly audited and controlled.

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