World View: Qatar Provides $15 Million in Aid to Gaza

Qatari cash reaches Gaza in effort to ease tensions

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Qatar provides $15 million in aid to Gaza, will mediate electricity issues and Cyprus seaport
  • Israel and Qatar agree to a sea route between Gaza and Cyprus

Qatar provides $15 million in aid to Gaza, will mediate electricity issues and Cyprus seaport

Palestinian fishing boats with Gaza City in the background (AP)
Palestinian fishing boats with Gaza City in the background (AP)

On Thursday, three suitcases stuffed with $15 million in cash traveled in the back seat of a car from Israel to Gaza through the Erez crossing. This money is being distributed to Gazans under an agreement between Qatar, Israel, and Gaza mediated by Egypt.

Qatar supplied the money, taking an increasingly large role in trying to make Gaza more “livable” for the people in the hope of reducing the weekly protests.

Many employees working for Hamas in Gaza have not been paid salaries in months because the money for paying the salaries has not been made available to Hamas. It is not Israel that made the decision to withhold the money. It was the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) headed by Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas is supposed to be the head a unity government of all Palestinians and Abbas has cut off money to pay the salaries of Gazans working for Hamas. Israel has supported Abbas’s decision, out of concern that Hamas would use the salary money to fund terrorist activities.

So Egypt’s mediation has led to an agreement where Qatar provides the money to pay the salaries of Hamas employees. The $15 million that arrived on Thursday is the first installment of a $90 million total payout. 27,000 civil servants will receive 50 percent of a month’s salary, with the amount to gradually increase over the months.

The money is not being given to the United Nations or to Hamas. Instead, civil servants’ salaries are being paid individually, under the supervision of the Qataris.

Israel has not commented on the payments but must have approved them because otherwise the three suitcases of money could not have crossed into Gaza.

However, the Palestinian Authority said that the $15 million was “cheap price that Hamas received for the precious blood” of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and that “Hamas leaders are prepared to align themselves with the devil in order to remain in power and undermine the Palestinian national project.” Jerusalem Post and Reuters and Jerusalem Post and Middle East Eye and Jerusalem Post

Israel and Qatar agree to a sea route between Gaza and Cyprus

Israel and Qatar have reached an agreement on the establishment of a seaport in Cyprus, under Israeli security supervision, that will be used to ship goods to Gaza.

There is a dispute over how security will be implemented. Israel has demanded that its representatives be present at the seaport for manual inspection of goods entering Gaza to make sure that there are no weapons. However, Hamas is demanding that inspections take place only electronically.

The Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas is completely opposed to the plan, saying Hamas was not authorized to reach any agreement on such matters with international parties and warning that such a move would “consolidate” the split between the Gaza Strip and West Bank and make Gaza a separate Palestinian state in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.

Qatar is also working on a number of other proposals to make Gaza more livable, including expanding fishing, establishing industrial zones, and reliable electricity.

It is hoped that by making Gaza more livable, the weekly “March of Return” protests of Gazans trying to break through the fence into Israel and demanding to return to their ancestral homes will be reduced. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the protests are being driven by young people just coming of age, and no agreement by their geezer leaders will change that. YNet (Israel) and Jerusalem Post and Israel National News

Related Articles:

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Gaza, Israel, Qatar, Egypt, Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, Cyprus, March of Return
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