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PA denies humanitarian crisis in Gaza

Palestinian children play outside their home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]
Palestinian children play outside their home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has denied reports that the besieged Gaza Strip is suffering from a humanitarian crisis, accusing Hamas of spreading “false” information, Quds Press reported yesterday.

In a statement, the government, which is based in Ramallah, said it sent 40 shipments of medicines and medical disposals to hospitals in the Gaza Strip just two weeks ago.

The government added that it spends $100 million on Gaza every month, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the government claimed that Hamas “is still collecting taxes for itself”. It pointed out that the reconciliation deal signed in October last year stipulates that Hamas stop collecting taxes in Gaza on 10 January.

In addition, it claimed that Hamas “is still refusing to hand over all the PA offices and facilities” in Gaza. Therefore, the statement said, Hamas “is fully responsible for the suffering of Gaza residents, as well as the stalemate of the reconciliation deal.”

Read: Gazans cannot cope with ‘unprecedented’ economic crisis

Yesterday, the Ministry of Health in Gaza announced that Beit Hanoun Children’s Hospital had suspended its services due to the lack of electricity, fuel and medicines.

The ministry also announced the adoption of very strict austerity measures in all other hospitals across the besieged enclave due to the shortage of the most basic of needs.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said that the PA does not pay operational expenses in his ministry and in a number of other ministries in Gaza. The salaries of 40,000 employees also remain unpaid, he added.

Gaza has been under a strict Israeli-Egyptian siege since mid-2007. During this period, Israel launched several major offensives on Gaza which have killed thousands, mostly children and partially or completely destroyed tens of thousands of houses and facilities including hospitals and schools.

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