As the United States prepares to send massive amounts of aid to Gaza, the Biden administration admits it hasn’t a clue whether Hamas will get its terrorist hands on the cash.
Hamas recently rained more than 4,000 rockets upon Israel, inviting retaliation from the Jewish state that destroyed buildings and infrastructure in Gaza.
A ceasefire was declared last week, sparking the United States to begin passing the hat for aid to Gaza through the international community. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting the region to begin the process.
The State Department provided a briefing to reporters with the condition that all information be attributed to a senior State Department official.
One reporter asked, “How can the U.S. guarantee aid to Gaza won’t be diverted toward replenishing the Hamas arsenal?”
“We’re going to be working in partnership with the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to kind of channel aid there in a manner that does its best to go to the people of Gaza. I’m also sure that the Government of Egypt will have some role in that,” the official said.
“As we’ve seen in life, as we all know in life, there are no guarantees, but we’re going to do everything that we can to ensure that this assistance reaches the people who need it the most.”
The question did not go away.
“But I was just curious as to how you all envision helping rebuild Gaza by working with the [Palestinian Authority] given that Hamas and the PA can’t stand each other and Hamas controls Gaza. How is that going to work?” another reporter asked.
“That’s a great question,” the State Department official replied. “And we’ve been meeting regularly and intensively with the United Nations, which is going to — we expect to lead the reconstruction efforts there.
“We’ve also been meeting with the PA and together with the United Nations to look for a formula to kind of create a partnership between the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to channel through the reconstruction assistance,” the official added.
“And I think we don’t talk to Hamas, obviously, but we would — we expect that they understand that if assistance is going to come in, that’s the manner it’s going to do so. But you’re right; it presents significant challenges. But we believe that by doing so it will get us on the pathway, we hope eventually, to a reintegration to some extent of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, which we hope in turn can help create the conditions to move us forward to a more stable situation.”
The official implied that the United Nations had more muscle on the ground in Gaza than Hamas.
“Given the perception that Hamas has been considerably strengthened politically by this with the people of Gaza showing their muscle against Israel, do they effectively have veto power over how the aid, if it materializes, is going to be distributed despite the efforts to run it through the UN and the Palestinian Authority?” a reporter asked.
“We certainly don’t see Hamas as having a veto power,” the official responded. “We’re going to be working with the United Nations, and the United Nations has a significant and meaningful presence on the ground there.
“And we are confident that working in partnership with them and also with the involvement of the Palestinian Authority in the process, we will get the job done,” the official continued.
“In terms of the Palestinian Authority, look, again, the aid is going to be primarily going through the United Nations with the participation of the Palestinian Authority. And that’s going to be our — that’s going to be our focus. So we’re not — so that’s really going to be our focus. I’ll leave it there.”
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