Report: Hamas Distributes Turkish Sweets to Loyalists Instead of Hungry Children

An aid worker gets a shipment of humanitarian aid supplies from the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) to the Gaza Strip ready in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on January 17 , 2009.
Omar Salem/AFP/Getty

JAFFA, Israel – Israel has allowed tens of tons to humanitarian aid into Gaza for Eid al Fitr festival, as per the provisions of its normalization pact with Turkey, signed last week.

Forty-two truckloads of Turkish provisions have entered the Strip out of 11,000 tons delivered aboard a Turkish cargo ship to Israel’s Ashdod port.

The first Turkish shipment into Gaza included sweets for the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, but according to the Palestinian newspaper Alhayat Aljadida they were distributed to Hamas loyalists rather than to the Strip’s children and poor.
The West Bank-based newspaper said that “the Turkish chocolate was given by Hamas to thousands of their loyalists,” and quoted sources in the Palestinian Red Crescent that claimed that the aid organization was prevented from taking part in the distribution.

“Hamas, in coordination with the Turks, oversaw the reception and distribution of the provisions,” the source said.

A charity director in Gaza said that “in distributing the aid, Hamas gave precedence to its own people. It’s true that there are some poor people among them, but the sectarianism of the whole endeavor testifies to the great divisions within the Palestinian society.”

He said that several requests were submitted to Turkey to hand over the distribution to international organizations, especially UN subsidiaries, but nothing happened.

“Hamas has taken advantage of Turkey’s aid to restore its status in the Strip, after protests were made even from within the most loyal circles,” he said. “There is a growing disgruntlement, mainly at the economic hardships.”