UN condemns Hamas for tunnel under schools in Gaza

UNRWA staff distributing food to displaced families in various UNRWA shelters in Gaza City

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Monday that "Israel has no policy for Gaza, only decisions". The distress among the residents, who now receive electricity four hours a day, is liable to turn into violent protest, and the effect could be action against Israel.

Hamas spokesman Abdulatif Al-Qanou told Xinhua that the Israeli decision "is a further restriction of the Israeli siege on Gaza Strip and a new pressure that will lead to negative results".

That has put Israel in the tough spot of having to choose between siding with Hamas in the internal Palestinian struggle or risking a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished coastal strip.

Hamas has warned warning of an outbreak in violence if Israel reduces electricity supplies to Gaza. "This virtually speeds up the deterioration and explosion of the situation in the Gaza Strip".

Israel has long accused Hamas of exploiting civilian infrastructure and of using supplies for military installations instead of civilian projects.

"In order to resolve the crisis Hamas must respond to Mahmud Abbas's offer to end the political divisions", he added.

Hamas has run Gaza since 2007, when it seized it in a near civil war from Abbas' Fatah following an electoral dispute over parliamentary polls won by the Islamist movement.

Abbas recently chose to "significantly reduce" payments for Gazan electricity, Erdan said.

Farawaneh has attributed the lack of clarity from Palestinian leadership to "security reasons", saying Hamas can't announce the names of missing people since it remains unaware of who is among the 19 bodies held by Israel, and whose bodies possibly remain trapped under rubble two years on.

"Water desalination stations can not operate; 100 million liters of mostly untreated sewage are being pumped into the Mediterranean Sea daily; water for household use is only available intermittently; sewage can not be pumped away from residential areas; and generators, which are supposed to provide an alternative, are over-extended, on the brink of collapse".

The Hamas government, which seems to have no problem obtaining expensive advanced weaponry, can't seem to find a way to pay its region's electric bill even when it means endangering the lives of its own citizens.

Hamas representatives acknowledged that the organization respects the work of the UNRWA.

But with hundreds of thousands of real refugees flooding over the Middle East and Europe, UNRWA's claims, along with those of Palestinian refugees kept in camps by Arab states, ring more and more hollow.



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