The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has announced that it is suspending all humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, citing yesterday’s reported theft of several truckloads of food by the Hamas government.
Most of the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip are dependent on international food aid, largely from the UNRWA. The UNRWA previously halted the aid deliveries in protest of an Israeli attack on their aid trucks, and has also had to stop them repeatedly when the borders were closed.
The restoration of the shipments appear to be predicated on Hamas returning the seized goods and promising not to do it again. The strategy seems to be a flawed variation on Israel’s repeated attempts to coerce Hamas into taking actions by threatening to cut off the food supply of the general population. With Israel thwarting alternative attempts to bring aid in through other routes, the UNRWA halt leaves the Gaza residents in the all-too-familiar position of having no clue where their next meal is coming from, or when.
The Israeli government cheered the move, saying it constituted official UN approval of their position that all the suffering in the Gaza Strip is solely the fault of the Hamas government.