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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Qatar reaches agreement to distribute Gaza aid in effort to stabilise tensions


The Gulf state has pledged to allocate millions of dollars to support families in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Qatar’s Gaza envoy Mohammad al-Emadi announced on Monday that “an agreement has been reached regarding the Qatari grant and the opening of the Gaza crossings in order to establish a state of calm and stability,” Qatar News Agency reported.

“All procedures have been completed in agreement with the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations,” Al-Emadi said regarding the disbursement of the Qatari funds.

Al-Emadi noted that a series of intensive meetings held over the past few days seeking a solution in the Gaza Strip has achieved positive outcomes. 

“It was agreed during the meetings to fully reopen the crossings to the main needs of the Gaza Strip while providing various facilities that would help all parties get out of the crisis and ease the tension in the region,” he said.

Read also: UN chief thanks Qatar for improving dire situation in Gaza through monetary aid

Al-Emadi noted that the positive results will improve the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and stressed that all parties need to take responsibility for maintaining a state of calm there.  During his visit, he met officials from the government as well as leaders from Hamas.

Earlier this year, Qatar pledged $360 million in financial assistance to the Gaza Strip for the year 2021. The aid is to be used to pay salaries, help families in need, and contribute to a power station.  Gaza continues to suffer from stifling living conditions, including an ongoing electricity crisis imposed by the Israeli occupation.

However, Israeli occupation forces halted the disbursement of Qatari funds last May when it launched a deadly offensive on Gaza, leveling residential and commercial high-rise buildings and medical facilities, decimating much of the enclave.

In response to the 11-day Israeli bombardment, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani pledged an additional $500 million dollars to help rebuild the Gaza Strip. 

Israel has prevented the transfer of urgent aid to Gaza multiple times.

Read also: Hamas vows resistance as Israel cracks down on Gaza protesters

The bombardment came to a halt after a Qatar and Egypt-brokered ceasefire came into effect. 

However, the distribution of aid was hindered by Israel which quickly demanded changes to how any money would be transferred over concerns that the aid could reach Hamas, which it considers a “terror” organisation.

Israel had previously said it wanted all aid to go through the United Nations or the Palestinian Authority instead.

Earlier in August, Qatar, the UN, and Israel finally agreed on a new mechanism for transferring Qatari aid into the Gaza Strip.

Under the new agreement, Qatar will transfer $100 per month to 100,000 Gazan families via the UN and Palestinian banks. The UN has said that it hopes to begin the provision of cash aid to the besieged Gaza Strip over the next two to three weeks.

More than 2 million Palestinians live in dire conditions due to an Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, often described as the world’s largest open-air prison.

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