By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
The U.S. expects Hamas to obtain some of the $10 billion in humanitarian aid partly intended for civilians in Gaza, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a hearing Tuesday.
Some lawmakers have voiced concerns that some of the $10 billion in humanitarian aid the Biden administration has requested for Gaza, Israel and Ukraine in an emergency funding request for national security matters could be diverted to the Hamas terrorist group, ABC News reported. Biden has already devoted $100 million in aid that began rolling into Gaza through Egypt in late October, according to CNN, and Hamas will likely confiscate a fraction of that aid to support its members and fuel further attacks on Israel, Blinken told the House Appropriations Committee.
“To date, we don’t have reports either from the U.N. or from Israel that this assistance has been diverted from its intended recipients, but it’s something that we’re going to track very closely. Can I promise you in this committee that there will be 100% delivery to the designated recipients? No,” Blinken said.
“There will inevitably be some spillage; we haven’t seen it to date, but I think we have to anticipate that,” he added.
Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, effectively controls Gaza. It has long withheld resources from the civilian population to fuel its military branch, and earlier the U.N. accused the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry of stealing humanitarian supplies from a U.N. compound in Gaza City.
Current assistance flows into Gaza through the Rafa gate on the Egyptian border under the supervision of Israel, the U.S. and U.N. agencies, Blinken said. Israel inspects every truck full of supplies at a checkpoint in the area so that “every truck that goes in is verified by Israel as well as by the Egyptian authorities.”
The U.N. transports supplies from the border to additional U.N.-run distribution sites throughout the territory, Blinken said. The U.S. and others have the ability to track the assistance and contact the designated recipients, he added.
He emphasized that the “overwhelming majority” of aid is getting to its intended recipients and that the Gazans need more. U.S. and partners are trying to get the volume of trucks up to 100 per day as a “bare minimum” from the current 50 per day.
“The needs are desperate,” Blinken said. “All these are literally a matter of life and death just to focus on Gaza, and we know they are literally running out.”
Hospitals in Gaza are running out of fuel and medical supplies necessary to operate, and access to fresh water is severely restricted, he said. More than 1 million people have been displaced from their homes, about half of which are under U.N. care.