The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) recently announced that, for the first time in 50 years, infant mortality in Gaza has increased. Its report states that the cause of the rise can’t easily be determined, but goes on to blame the Israeli blockade. Claudia Rosett writes:
Was there, perhaps, some overarching development—unmentioned by UNRWA—that shaped events in Gaza during the interval in question, from 2008 to 2013?
Here’s a one-word answer, which does not appear anywhere in either the UN press releases or in the underlying UNRWA report: Hamas—which has ruled Gaza since 2007. . . .
[A]ssuming that UNRWA’s infant-mortality statistics for Gaza are remotely reliable, for decades—while UNRWA deplored Israel’s presence in Gaza—infant mortality rates in the enclave were declining. Then, in 2005, Israel withdrew. In the Gaza elections in 2006, Hamas won a legislative majority. In June 2007, in a bloody coup, Hamas evicted the rival Fatah forces of the Palestinian Authority. Since then, Gaza has been under the boot of Hamas. . . .
UNRWA, for its part, uses this kind of report as leverage to collect hundreds of millions in donations every year for its welfare operations in Gaza (the biggest contributor being the U.S.). That further frees Hamas to devote its resources not to decent governance, but to terrorism.