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Gaza-based Employees of International Organizations complain of security procedures

Gaza-based Employees of International Organizations complain of security procedures

Gaza- In recent days, employees of international aid organizations, who are usually treated with hostility by the state of Israel, complain, according to sources, about a change for the worse in the attitude of Gazan residents and Hamas officials.
According to these sources, the workers and volunteers of the international aid organizations are already used to the cumbersome bureaucracy imposed by the Israeli Occupation due to concerns about security activity. Lately, another difficulty has emerged. The recent tense situation between the Israeli Occupation and Hamas and a series of security incidents in Gaza gave rise to the suspicions of Hamas’s security services of foreigners. As a result, the checks are more thorough and restrictions of movement in the Gaza Strip are tightened. Recent reports have indicated a more aggressive attitude toward foreigners.
Volunteers of international aid organizations talk about a disgraceful attitude, especially by Hamas’s security services. For example, workers of these organizations were summoned for questioning in the middle of the night and blamed for security-related offenses.
Of note that several international aid organizations, receiving donations from countries all over the world, are working in the Gaza Strip. These organizations try to improve the severe humanitarian situation in Gaza caused by the Occupation. The assistance they provide includes social development, treatment of orphans and families in need, construction of schools, provision of medical services, the opening of vocational training courses, and granting loans for business development.
The UNRWA case illustrates the difficulty. In early 2018, U.S. President Trump announced the freeze of 65 out of the $125 million of the annual U.S. Aid to UNRWA. As a result, the Agency had to restrict its local activity and dismiss workers. Protests against the Agency were held by the frustrated Gazan residents, who even threatened the life of Mr. Matthias Schmale, the director of UNRWA Gaza office. Mr. Schmale expressed his deep concern about the threats to his life and the life of other members of the UNRWA management in Gaza.
These days, the sources say, the situation in the Gaza Strip is extremely tense and the employees and managers of the international aid organizations walk the line between their commitment to the Gazan residents and responsibility for their own safety.

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