Qatar delivers cash to Gaza

Qatari envoy, Mohammed al-Emadi, entered the Gaza Strip last night with the second $15 million grant for Gaza and met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.

Qatar has pledged a total of $90 million in aid to the Gaza Strip that will be distributed over the next six months. The first $15 million was delivered last month.

Israeli officials believe that $5m will be used to pay Hamas officials’ wages, $5m will be transferred to the families of those killed and wounded in violence on the Gaza border and the rest will be used to increase employment opportunities. Thousands of documents signed by Hamas civilian employees and representatives of families who received the money from Qatar were given to Israel in order to ensure that the funds are not being given to Hamas’s military wing. Israeli officials have described this as a significant improvement in the supervision and monitoring of the Qatari funds. “We want to get a photo of a signature and a fingerprint. The Qatari envoy is transferring this data in an orderly manner and thus we know where the money is going,” an Israeli official said.

In a rare move earlier this week, Israeli Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, tweeted that “The Government of Israel thanks the UN’s Mladenov, Egypt and Qatar for their efforts to improve the situation in Gaza and hopes that a long term agreement can be reached that will both maintain Israel’s security and enable Gaza’s development.” According to Tal Shalev from Walla News, Qatar requested a public statement from Israel recognising their efforts to rehabilitate Gaza before transferring the rest of the $15m grant.

Munir al-Jaghoub, a senior Fatah official in the West Bank, criticised the way the Qatari money was being delivered to the Gaza Strip. The money, he said, should be transferred through the PLO, the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” The Qatari funds were going to Hamas and not to the Palestinian people, and this is unfortunate, he added. Israeli officials said that there is tighter supervision of the allocation process under the new arrangements than when the Palestinian Authority was supervising grant allocations.