Hamas, UN spar over who has possession of Gaza ambulances

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Hamas and UNRWA, the UN body responsible for doling out funds to Palestinian "refugees," are engaged in a media battle over who has possession of three ambulances sent into Gaza last month for use by UNRWA.

The Jerusalem Post reported in late July that the ambulances had been confiscated by Hamas as they entered Gaza. The report cited an UNRWA official who had emailed Israeli defense officials to complain about the Hamas action.

Earlier this week, Hamas confirmed that it had taken possession of the ambulances, insisting that UNRWA had failed to provide the proper paperwork for the vehicles to be used in Gaza.

But on Monday, senior UNRWA officials suddenly denied that Hamas had stolen their ambulances, and circulated a photograph purportedly showing one of their staff members posing with the ambulances in question at the UNRWA compound in Gaza.

Reports of Palestinian groups stealing and abusing humanitarian aid are nothing new, and UNRWA typically tries to bury such stories, or to at least significantly downplay them in an effort to prevent the Palestinians being painted in the same negative tones in which they would like the world to view Israel.

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