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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Hamas to mull UN supervision of Qatari funds to Gaza

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The procedure would see Qatari aid being transferred to Palestine via the United Nations. 

Hamas has promised to study a proposal in which Qatari money would be distributed through Palestinian banks and under the supervision of the United Nations (UN), a group source revealed to Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar.

During discussions with international and Qatari officials, the source said that Hamas may agree to this option on the condition that the funds are spent without deduction and that new names of those in need can be added in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza.

This comes after a decision made in late June stipulating that the UN will facilitate the delivery and transfer of Qatari aid to Gaza according to the newly changed transfer mechanism.

UN’s Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland held recent meetings in both Israel and Qatar during which he confirmed the UN’s agreement to take on this role.

Read also: Israel embassy opening, Tunisian ‘publicity stunt’ sparks #BoycottUAE trend

In May, Israeli authorities announced they would study the possibility of changing logistics for the entry of Qatari aid into Gaza. Israel later demanded Qatar to directly deposit all donations to the Palestinian Authority (PA) or international organisations.

The reports also meant that the PA would no longer be involved in the transfer of the Qatari cash to the besieged enclave, and that it would be done through the UN instead. Aid to the Gaza Strip was previously sent in suitcases of cash. This has also now changed, the report said.

Meanwhile, Israeli media said Tel Aviv is also seeking to recruit new countries willing to donate to the Gaza Strip alongside Qatar.

Qatar has donated millions of dollars to the Strip which helps Hamas pay for fuel for Gaza’s power plant, pay civil servants and provide aid to tens of thousands in the besieged enclave.

However, Qatar has been accused by Israel of funding Hamas, which Israel consider’s a ‘terrorist group.’ This claim has been repeatedly refuted by Qatari officials as well as Hamas leaders.

Israel’s newest Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been harsh critic of Israel allowing Qatari cash into the Strip.

On June 28, Qatar-funded fuel finally entered the Gaza Strip, with approval from Israel, to power the city’s only electricity station for the first time since the May ceasefire.

Israeli air raids

In May, Israel carried out an 11-day offensive on Gaza that killed hundreds of Palestinians including at least 66 children. The death toll has since continued to rise despite an Egypt and Qatar-brokered ceasefire, with many succumbing to injuries sustained during the bombardment.

Previous delays in aid contributed to the renewal of Hamas’ incendiary balloon attacks. Israel disproportionately responded to the balloon attacks by launching renewed airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

On Saturday, Israeli military carried out an overnight raid on Hamas positions in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The raid was the third time Israel carried out air attacks on the Gaza Strip since the May offensive, a clear violation of the ceasefire.


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