Hamas has promised not to touch “a single cent” of international aid to rebuild the besieged Gaza Strip after Israel bombarded the enclave for 11 days.
On Wednesday, Yahya Sinwar, the head of the group’s political wing in Gaza, promised the “transparent and impartial” distribution of aid as a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas held for the sixth day.
“We welcome any international or Arab effort to rebuild the Gaza Strip,” Sinwar said.
“I affirm our commitment not to take a single cent intended for reconstruction and humanitarian efforts,” he said. “We have never taken a cent in the past.”
Sinwar’s remarks came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged his country’s help in rebuilding Gaza on Tuesday but stressed that the aid must not benefit Hamas, which rules the coastal territory.
Instead of working with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the US idea is based in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank and headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, reducing the risk of strengthening Hamas, which is considered a “terrorist organization” by the United States and the European Union.
Sinwar said Blinken’s remarks aimed to widen the divide between Hamas and the PA but insisted they would not affect relations between the rival Palestinian factions.
“We will never fall for this trick and lash out at each other,” he said.
On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Twitter that the United Kingdom had pledged 3.2 million pounds ($4.5m) in emergency aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to support those in Gaza affected by recent hostilities.
According to health authorities, at least 254 people, including 66 children, were killed in Gaza as Israel bombarded the Palestinian territory from air, land and sea for 11 days.
At least 12 people, including two children, were killed in Israel by rocket attacks carried out by Hamas and other armed groups based in Gaza, Israeli authorities said.
On Tuesday, the European Commission announced the European Union was boosting its humanitarian aid to Palestine by eight million euros ($9.8 million). Here