In Gaza, While UN is Cashless Hamas Meets Its
Payroll, Ging Says, AbuZayd in Norway
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
January 13 -- The UN cannot get
cash into Gaza, despite protests from its Secretary General Ban
therefore cannot pay its staff members. Meanwhile, the UN's John Ging
Press from Gaza on Tuesday, Hamas is meeting its payroll in the Gaza
Ging called this embarrassing, but has declined to answer Inner City
question about any steps being taken by the UN to get cash into the
City Press asked the General Commissioner to whom Ging reports, Karen
the entry of cash into Gaza before the current offensive by Israel
began. On October 31, 2008, AbuZayd told Inner City Press that Ban
himself had to call Israel's president to push to allow currency in, to
11,000 staff members of the UN Relief and Works Agency.
about reports that UNRWA is paying taxes to Israel, despite what are
privileges and immunities. Yes, Ms. AbuZayd said, we pay, to use the
taxes, to make claims, hoping to be paid back. Video here,
from Minute 49:31. Afterwards,
Inner City Press asked Ms. AbuZayd if she or Ban have pushed this tax
No, she said.
past days, Ging has provided video-link briefings and responded to
Inner City Press asked him to respond to claims by Israeli diplomats
newspapers, that his agency UNRWA has been "taken over by Hamas," and
that Hamas has looted aid trucks at the Karem Shalom crossing. Ging has
denounced these as distractions, emphasizing that he has been provided
proof. Why is only one trucking company being used? How does UNRWA
whom, and at what prices, to buy non-emergency goods in Gaza? These
have not been answered.
been steadfast in his call for international investigations and for
accountability, including for the UN if it is found to be in the wrong.
not, however, fully answered how UNRWA decides who to allow into its
Is a militant who puts down his -- or her -- gun still a militant?
targeting a building full of people because one or two might be Hamas
beyond the laws of war, eminently predictable. So if the UN allows in
unarmed Hamas-affiliated person, does it tell the people already in the
shelter? Should it?
briefings have been by Ging, accompanied until Tuesday by UN
coordinator John Holmes. Inner City Press asked Holmes a question about
killing of hundreds in the Congo. While Holmes to his credit answered,
Deputy Spokesperson then limited further questions to Gaza.
Ging had not been told in advance that Holmes would not be there, the
Spokesperson pointedly followed a questions about more killings in the
saying, most of you are here for Gaza. The audience had dwindled for
a dozen reporters. Karen AbuZayd herself was not even in the region,
in Norway. When Inner City Press asked why, Ging said it was a trip
before this round of conflict, to raise funds. The Spokesperson quickly
introjected that AbuZayd will accompany Ban on his tour through the
which will not include the Gaza Strip. We'll have more on this.
UN's Ban and Perez in November 2008, last
time UNRWA had cash for people in Gaza
Ging and presumably AbuZayd decided to suspend the movement of UNRWA
According to Ging, these staff were ordered not to go home either. The
day, based on Ging's interpretation of assurances given by Israel, the
were told to go back to work. Inner City Press asked him if they are
represented by a union, if they were consulted before either decision.
want to work, Ging said. While commendable, what if an UNRWA staffer
to go back, due to danger - so they still get paid? In fact, none of
getting paid so far in January. Of course, if they worked for Hamas,
payroll would be met...
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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