[Opinion] The black hole of Gaza aid
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Last week, Israeli authorities revealed that, once again, Hamas has been stealing international aid money intended for the general Gazan population, and using it for its own purposes. In this case, Muhammad Murtaja, the local coordinator of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), has been charged with siphoning millions from Turkish aid donations….The modus operandi of infiltrating the ranks of foreign aid groups is not new to Hamas.
In the end, the noble desires of international humanitarian groups to provide aid come at the expense and danger that terrorists will appropriate all or part of it. For too many NGOs and their government funders, the risks have not been properly weighed. Simply stated, regardless of whether not a terrorist group controls the region, and illegally and immorally paying it off is the price of doing business, NGOs will continue single-mindedly on their “humanitarian” mission.
The need for more safeguards and oversight on the work of aid groups in Gaza (and in other conflict areas as well) is clear and imperative. The mere thought that funds and goods intended for aid purposes end up in the hands of terrorists should cause governments to hit the brakes and rethink what would be the best way to ensure that aid distributed actually reaches the people of Gaza. A pattern such as the one emerging in Gaza should bring about a complete overhaul of how international aid operations are conducted in the terrorist-controlled enclave.