The manager of the Gaza office of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said on Wednesday that he will continue to help the poor in the besieged enclave, despite efforts by the Palestinian Authority to prevent him, Shehab news agency has reported. “Based on my ethical and religious responsibility,” explained Mohamed Abu Hasna, “I will continue to offer aid without discrimination to families in the Gaza Strip during the upcoming holy month of Ramadhan.”
He made his comment after attempts were made to transfer from Gaza to the OIC office in Ramallah his discretionary power to distribute aid. PA Foreign Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki requested such a transfer by asking OIC Secretary General Yousif Bin Al-Othaymeen to close the organisation’s office in Gaza during a meeting in Jeddah earlier this week. Al-Maliki alleged that Abu Hasna is a Hamas member and supports the movement’s activities. The Gaza office of the OIC was opened without the knowledge of the PA in Ramallah, reported Shehab.
In response, senior Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook blamed Fatah and the PA for “poisoning” the political atmosphere. He suggested that the latest move “proves” that their calls to end the internal Palestinian division are “unreal”.
Gaza has been governed since 2006 by what was then a freely-elected Hamas government. For the past 10 years it has been under an Israeli-led siege backed by the PA in Ramallah, Egypt and the international community; all claim that the blockade is intended to stop Hamas receiving arms and ammunition from abroad.
International humanitarian and rights bodies, including the UN, OXFAM and Human Rights Watch, have said many times that the siege is illegal as it has a negative impact on Palestinian civilians. It has also been said to constitute collective punishment on the population, which is classed as a war crime.