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Some Gaza Victim Swept UNder the Rug, UN Date Bars Not in Data Base

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, January 30 -- The range of responses to the Gaza crisis from different UN agencies, even within particular agencies, shows a wavering relationship with truth and member states. In the face of reports of a particular Palestinian teenage girl, needing an operation in France but denied the right to exit the Gaza Strip at the Rafah crossing to Egypt, apparently upon the orders of Fatah's Palestinian Authority health ministry in Ramallah, UN humanitarian spokesman Chris Gunness wrote: "I do not have any information on this case. I suggest [Inner City Press] contact [its] stringer in Gaza or approach the Ministry of Health."

  But shouldn't the UN be concerned by the report? The story had already been in the Emirati press, and on Arabic satellite TV. It seems unlikely the UN wouldn't know of it. And even if Inner City Press' written query was the first they heard of it, shouldn't one expect the UN to look into such a report?

  The explanation, it seems, is that the UN like the EU want only to deal with Fatah's Palestinian Authority, and not Hamas. Therefore anything wrong done by the PA is swept UNder the rug.

The victim, in Gaza's Shifa hospital, (c) The National, UNRWA spokesman not shown

  On the controversy of the BBC refusing to carry a Gaza appeal, Inner City Press on January 29 asked UNRWA's Karen AbuZayd what she thought of it. "It's up to the BBC," she said and walked away. Meanwhile her putative deputy, John Ging, on January 30 began by saying he didn't want to tell the BBC what to do, but went on to say, we need aid here. The implication was, the appeal should have been run.

  On January 29, the World Food Program's chief for the Middle East bragged about the date bars WFP delivers to the Gaza Strip. Inner City Press asked him if the date bars are donated by Egypt's government, or whether WFP buys them. Video hereHe referred in his answer to the private sector, which means that they are bought. But date bars do not appear in the recent months on the WFP's procurement data base. WFP and the World Bank, it emerges, made loans to Egypt to build up a date bar sector. We'll have more on this.

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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