Hamas holding up Gaza aid


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07-06-2010 08:16 AM


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07-06-2010 08:16 AM



07-06-2010 08:51 AM

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2010-06-07 08:16:48

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Hamas holding up Gaza aid -

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TONY EASTLEY: Meanwhile, the tonnes of aid taken from last week's flotilla is still sitting at a
freight crossing on Gaza's border with Israel, but it's going nowhere because Hamas refuses to
allow it in.

Middle East correspondent Ben Knight reports from Gaza.

BEN KNIGHT: On Gaza's beachfront, stands a row of armed men - big beards and black uniforms. They
look to be on edge.

(Military music)

The Hamas Prime Minister of Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, has just arrived to lay wreaths for the nine
activists killed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara.

Ismail Haniyeh must be wondering how the tide turned so quickly. In the US and Europe, Hamas is
black-listed as a terrorist organisation. Yet suddenly, here he is, reaping the benefits of
Israel's disastrous raid on the ship bringing aid to Gaza.

(Ismail Haniyeh speaking)

ISMAIL HANIYEH (translated): Today, there is one demand all over the world - lift the siege on
Gaza. Even those who impose the siege now realise it has failed.

BEN KNIGHT: There's no doubt that the Hamas Prime Minister is enjoying an unusual level of world
attention which may explain why he appears to be overplaying his hand somewhat. Israel has
transferred the aid from the flotilla to the crossings with Gaza - but Ismail Haniyeh is refusing
to accept it.

REPORTER: Prime Minister, isn't it better to let the aid in rather than just make a point.

ISMAIL HANIYEH (translated): We are happy that this aid is reaching Gaza, but we have linked
receiving this aid with the release of the kidnapped activists of the flotilla.

BEN KNIGHT: In fact all foreign activists have now been deported to their home countries. But even
without the pronouncements of the Hamas leader, there's no doubt that pressure is building around
the world for Israel to open up the crossings.

Israel has hinted that it may increase the amount of goods it allows into Gaza - but that may not
be enough. By blocking exports, Israel has killed the Gazan economy. According to the United
Nations, four in five people here now depend on aid to survive. Unemployment is at 44 per cent.

MAHMOUD KHOZENDAR: It's a whole economy which is collapsed. Not it's collapsing, it's collapsed

BEN KNIGHT: Mahmoud Khozendar is one of the few wealthy men in Gaza - but he had to lay off 200
people from his tile factory when the blockade shut off his exports to Israel, Germany and Holland
three years ago. He'd just spent $2 million upgrading his factory.

MAHMOUD KHOZENDAR: This is not work and this is not life. This is only going downhill day by day.

BEN KNIGHT: While his former workers find a living as best they can, graduating high-school
students like Susie Mosiso hope for a future outside of Gaza - if they can get there.

SUSIE MOSISO: It's exactly like prison. You just, people in prison they can breathe, they can eat,
they can walk. That's how we're living.

BEN KNIGHT: Neither believes the blockade will end anytime soon.

This is Ben Knight in Gaza reporting for AM.