Qatar is set to resume funding to Gaza via a new mechanism that will include participation of the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations.
By Erin Viner
This, according to the Gulf state’s aid envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi after meeting with the Islamist Hamas leaders of Gaza on Monday.
Doha has pumped more than $1 billion into rebuilding and infrastructure projects in Gaza since the 2014 Operation Protective Edge conflict between Hamas and Israel. The flow of cash reached about $30 million per month to help operate the Palestinian enclave’s lone power plant, pay salaries of Hamas-hired civil servants and support impoverished residents. The payments by Gaza’s patron were suspended during the 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls fighting between Israel and Islamist terrorists this past May, after which Qatar pledged another $500 million.
Since the reaching of a ceasefire to the recent round of violence, both Israel and the United States have demanded the financial payout system be revised to provide greater accountability and prevent Hamas’ diversion of the money to its terrorist operations.
Israeli authorities previously stated that a PA-UN mechanism could involve disbursal of the Qatari aid in the form of vouchers rather than cash. The Israeli Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) that acts as a liaison with the Palestinians, declined comment on the Qatari announcement.
Even though he declined to elaborate, Emadi said in a statement that Hamas – which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Israel and the West – has endorsed a new payment mechanism that will involve its bitter Palestinian Authority (PA) rival headed by President Mahmoud Abbas as well as the UN.
Egypt has also pledged to provide $500 million in financial support for the rebuilding of Gaza in the wake of Operation Guardian of the Walls. According to Qatar’s envoy, the new agreement also entails the full opening of border crossings with the neighboring Palestinian territory – which has been cordoned off by both Cairo and Jerusalem since the Strip was seized by Hamas in a bloody 2007 internecine war with Abbas’ Fatah faction – although it is unclear when such a development would occur.
Emadi voiced hope that the resumption of payouts and a full border opening “will have a clear and positive impact on improving the living reality in Gaza Strip (and) help all parties emerge from the tense situation.”
The hold-up of the Qatari cash infusion has fueled rage in aid-dependent Gaza and Palestinian riots on the border with Israel. During the most violent demonstration against the Jewish State on 21 August, Israeli Border Officer Barel Hadaria Shmueli was killed after being shot in the head at point-blank range by a Palestinian gunman.
Palestinian terrorists have also persisted in sending incendiary devices into southern Israel that ignited 3 separate fires on Monday and prompted IDF retaliatory airstrikes on Hamas military infrastructure.