Saturday, 21 October, 2017

UN agency suspends Gaza missions after Hamas restrictions

Gaza military court sentences two to death for drug offenses Australia finds no proof its World Vision aid went to Hamas
Howard Terry | 05 April, 2017, 00:39

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) also said Egypt's imposition of strict travel restrictions on its border with the Gaza strip, combined with the similar steps taken by the Hamas authorities that block nearly all travel out of Gaza, have made things more hard for human rights workers.

Human Rights Watch recommends the International Criminal Court open an investigation into "potential serious crimes committed in Palestine since June 2014". These harsh and disproportionate restrictions are preventing young men from reaching badly needed medical care, and family visits to critically ill relatives or for funerals are among the kinds of travel blocked entirely.

Faqha was released from Israeli jail in 2011 and sent to Gaza.

An initial inquiry by the Australian government has found no evidence that an aid worker in the Gaza Strip diverted money to support Hamas. As for the Egyptian border, worldwide agencies including HRW and Amnesty global have not been allowed to cross it since 2012.

The report also criticises Hamas for not complying with worldwide investigations, which HRW says endangers both Palestinians and Israelis.

"In recognition of the need for humanitarian aid in Gaza, the Ministry of Interior made a decision to permit foreign workers of the United Nations and the Red Cross free movement to enter and leave the Gaza Strip", a Hamas ministry spokesman said in a statement on Saturday.

It accused the Israeli military authorities of systematically barring human rights workers from traveling into and out of Gaza, which is under the control of Hamas. "Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right".

The agency accused Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction, of "causing a constant tension between the will to help the civilian Gaza residents and our duty to protect the citizens of Israel".

Human Rights Watch also criticized restrictions recently imposed by Hamas following the assassination of one of its officials in the strip on March 24.

"The humanitarian situation of more than two million Palestinians trapped in Gaza is getting worse day after day", said Ramy Abdu, director of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor in Geneva.

Egypt should also facilitate travel for human rights workers via its border, and the Hamas authorities should protect human rights workers from retribution.

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