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Friday, January 21, 2022

‘Israeli mobs’ posing as Qatar’s Gaza reconstruction group targeting Palestinians


Palestinians in Gaza have been receiving spam calls in the name of the Qatari committee to collect personal information.

The Qatari Gaza Reconstruction Committee issued a statement denying its link to calls made to Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip asking them to provide personal information and addresses to deliver urgent relief aid and cash assistance worth $100.

The committee said only official government agencies, headed by the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, are authorised to contact Palestinians to mobilise any aid.

Similar alerts were issued by the Gaza Interior Ministry Spokesperson Iyad Al-Bozm who warned Palestinians of suspicious calls and messages by Israeli attempting to collect intel by targeting people in the enclave.

The statement was issued amid a recent Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip that prompted global action to assist Palestinians facing aggression. However, reports on the ground revealed how Israeli-affiliated mobs used this as an opportunity to track down citizens.

In recent days, a recorded voice call emerged online in which the caller claims an affiliation with Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee, requesting personal information, such as home address, in return for receiving financial aid. 

Continued attacks and violations after the ceasefire

After nearly two weeks of heavy bombardment that killed hundreds in the besieged Gaza Strip, Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday night.

The truce agreement, brokered due to efforts by Qatar and Egypt, has been praised by leaders around the world for ending days of brutal violence.

Read also: Qatar’s amir says committed to halting Israeli attacks on Palestinians

“I commend Egypt and Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close coordination with the UN, to help restore calm to Gaza and Israel”, said Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement to reporters at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, calling on all sides to observe the ceasefire.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland also thanked Qatar for its efforts in bringing the situation in Gaza to a much needed calm.

“I welcome the ceasefire between #Gaza & #Israel. I extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the violence & their loved ones. I commend #Egypt & #Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close contact w/ the @UN, to help restore calm. The work of building #Palestine can start,” he tweeted.

In a statement, the European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc “welcomes the announced ceasefire bringing to an end the violence in and around Gaza. We commend Egypt, Qatar, United Nations, United States and others who have played a facilitating role in this.”

However, only hours later, worshippers at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem were subjected to brute force attacks by occupying Israeli forces who shot rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades at Palestinians.

Qatar ‘committed’ to Palestinians 

Meanwhile, the Qatari committee has been working to distribute urgent relief aid to families of martyrs and those affected by current conditions in the Gaza Strip.

The head of the committee, Ambassador Muhammad Al-Emadi said the cash assistance is provided to the families of martyrs in all governorates of the Gaza Strip, people whose homes were completely demolished by Israeli airstrikes and bombings, as well as severely and partially damaged homes that are no longer suitable for housing.

It comes as this week, Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) announced the launch of a QR 60 million fundraising campaign for Palestine.

The ‘We Are All Palestine’ urgent relief appeal is set to benefit more than 593,000 Palestinians in Gaza, Jerusalem, and several cities in the West Bank.

According to the President of QRCS Sheikh Abdullah bin Thamer Al Thani, the launch of the campaign seeks to provide Palestinians with shelter, food, and medical supplies.

Read also: ‘We Are All Palestine’: QRCS launches urgent QR 60 million relief fund

Since May 10, Israeli air raids have destroyed fifty schools in Gaza according to Save the Children. The Qatar Red Crescent Society Office was also destroyed as was the Al Jalaa building which housed Qatar-based Al Jazeera offices, the Associated Press offices and residential units.

The Sheikh Hamad Hospital for Rehabilitation and Artificial Limbs, Gaza’s only prosthetic and disability rehab centre, also saw significant damage after targeted attacks by Israel on the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s biggest library was also destroyed.

The indiscriminate bombardment also caused destruction to the Strip’s main Covid-19 testing centre, as well as at least 15 other hospitals and health clinics.

Around 90,000 Palestinians have now been internally displaced after more than 11 days of violent attacks on the besieged enclave. According to the Palestinian health ministry, which was also partially damaged, 248 Palestinians including 66 children were killed in the violence.

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