A United Nations agency's suspension Friday of aid into Gaza is the latest in a series this week of tougher stances against Hamas — in contrast to the U.N.'s criticisms of Israel during its battle with Hamas in Gaza in late December and January.Of course, it took some brazen acts by Hamas against UN relief efforts for the light bulb to finally switch on:
The suspension of aid was in response to armed Hamas militants on Thursday stealing hundreds of tons of food intended for Palestinians by armed Hamas militants.
Also this week, the U.N. reversed its earlier claims that Israeli Defense Forces had bombed a school in Gaza administered by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA). On Tuesday, the U.N.'s Office for Humanitarian Affairs issued a report on the Jan. 6 incident that claimed the lives of 43 Palestinians, stating that "the shelling, and all of the fatalities, took place outside rather than inside the school."
Separately, Radhika Coomaraswamy, U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the organization will investigate the use by Hamas of children as human shields during the three-week Israeli military operation in Gaza.
Twice this week, Hamas gunmen have stolen emergency aid shipments in Gaza.Ah, but it seems the UN may not have arrived at this conclusion completely independently:
On Tuesday, 3,500 blankets and over 400 food parcels were taken at gunpoint in Beach Camp, Gaza. Then on Thursday, 10 truckloads of flour and rice were stolen, again at gunpoint.
UNRWA's criticisms of Hamas were welcomed on Capitol Hill, but they are unlikely to quell efforts to bring greater oversight and accountability of the agency. Over 40 members of Congress now have signed onto a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for an independent audit of UNRWA. The letter was drafted by Reps. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Steve Rothman, D-N.J.Yes, one would think so.
"It's an agency that's increasingly held in disrepute on Capitol Hill," Kirk said. "But this new posture may be an effort to forestall an independent audit."
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"I always wondered why the United Nations didn't address an entity dedicated to the destruction of a member nation of the U.N.," [Kirk] said. "You think it would be basic that a U.N. agency would defend the existence of members of the U.N."