A number of NGOs have recently criticized the decisions made by the U.S., Canada and the EU to suspend aid payments to the Palestinian Authority after the Hamas government took office on March 29. Despite Hamas’ violent rejection of Israel’s legitimacy and its failure to dismantle terror groups, Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF), Oxfam, Medicins du Monde (MdM) and other NGOs have openly called for continued funding.
In its April 13 statement, MSF said that the suspension of aid and the promise to redirect these funds via the UN and international relief bodies was "unacceptable." MSF emphasized concerns "about the socio-economic future of [the Palestinian] population already sorely tested by years of conflict and occupation." MSF’s statement did not acknowledge the security concerns of the Israeli population, and the dangers inherent in funding the Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S., EU and other governments. MSF’s statement notably fails to call for an end to Palestinian terrorism and the dismantling of these organizations.
Oxfam International, in a letter to the members of the "Quartet" and international donors of April 7, stated that "aid should be provided…regardless of which party is in power" and that the PA "is a legitimate channel for humanitarian funds." Like MSF, Oxfam’s letter also fails to acknowledge the cause of the decisions to halt funding, and refers only to the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. There is no mention of the responsibility of Hamas to end terror, or the link between violence and the Palestinian economic situation.
Medicins du Monde repeated these themes in a press release of March 13, calling IDF actions and the cessation of aid "collective punishment" – an inappropriate term used to demonize legitimate Israeli security responses to terror. MdM called on "all parties to the conflict to respect the life of humanitarian actors and civilian populations" – a highly generalized statement that fails to distinguish between terror and response.
In similar fashion, three Norwegian NGOs, – Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian Refugee Council, and Norwegian People’s Aid, called on the Norwegian government to reconsider aid cuts to the Palestinian Authority in a statement of April 10. "The Norwegian position should be to support Hamas as the democratic elected government and not impose actions that lead to more instability." Unlike other NGOs, these NGOs stressed that "It is very important that Hamas acknowledges Israel’s right to exist, renounces all use of terror and clearly signals will to dialogue and negotiations with the Israeli government [sic]." However, the statement does not consider the implications of the failure to take these steps, and condemns aid cuts as "economic sanctions." There is also no mention of the need for measures to prevent continued diversion of funds designated for Palestinian humanitarian assistance for use in promoting incitement and terror.