A government watchdog has raised concerns that some of President Joe Biden’s $100 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza and the West Bank might end up in the hands of Hamas terrorists.
Despite assurances from Biden that the aid would not be diverted to Hamas, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has identified the area as high-risk for potential diversion as reported by NY Post on Sunday, November 5, 2023.
“USAID has identified this area as high-risk for potential diversion and misuse of U.S.-funded assistance,” warned the USAID OIG.
The watchdog is responsible for ensuring that U.S. aid does not reach foreign terrorist organizations, including Hamas.
Previous cases have highlighted instances where terrorist organizations exerted pressure on aid workers and diverted assistance for their own purposes.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the risk during a House Appropriations Committee meeting, stating that Hamas is likely to confiscate a portion of the aid to support its members and fuel further attacks on Israel.
While there are no current reports of diversion, Blinken noted, “There will inevitably be some spillage; we haven’t seen it to date, but I think we have to anticipate that.”
Aid has been entering Gaza through Egypt since late October, and it is supervised by Israel, the U.S., and U.N. agencies.
Israel inspects every truck at a checkpoint on the Egyptian border, verifying the contents of aid shipments.
Blinken emphasized the ability to track the assistance and communicate with designated recipients, aiming to ensure proper delivery.
Despite these measures, concerns persist about the potential misuse of aid by Hamas.
The U.N. and Israel oversee aid trucks entering and leaving Gaza, but the high risk identified by the USAID OIG underscores the challenges in preventing diversion to terrorist organizations.
As hospitals in Gaza face shortages of fuel and medical supplies critical for operation, and with severe restrictions on access to fresh water, the situation remains dire.
Over a million people have been displaced, with approximately half under U.N. care.
The unfolding scenario puts the effectiveness of aid distribution under scrutiny.
Emphasizing the need for robust oversight and measures to minimize the risk of aid falling into the wrong hands.
The USAID OIG’s warning serves as a reminder of the complexities involved in providing humanitarian assistance in conflict zones, particularly when there are concerns about potential diversion to entities with conflicting interests.