Qatari envoy canceled money transfer to Gaza after PA withdrawal

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Qatar’s envoy to Gaza said on Friday that efforts to send aid from his country to the Gaza Strip, including to Hamas government employees, had failed after the Palestinian Authority withdrew from it. ‘OK.

Qatar has pledged $ 500 million for Gaza following the May 10-21 conflict that saw heavy shelling in the Strip and intense rocket fire at Israel.

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi said a mechanism agreed to earlier in the week whereby PA banks would transfer money to Hamas employees was no longer an option.

He said the banks refused to participate, fearing that they would be the target of sanctions for transferring money to a terrorist group.

The issue of officials had been a sticking point in the establishment of a money transfer mechanism. On Monday, al-Emadi said the issue had been resolved “following an agreement between the various parties.”

The failure of the deal was likely to further fuel tensions between Israel and Hamas, which has frequently escalated provocations in an attempt to pressure Israel to allow the money.

The report came as Channel 12 quoted sources close to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as saying that Israel considers a new round of violence with Hamas inevitable – perhaps in a few weeks – and is completing military plans. .

The report said Israel wanted to deal with Hamas on its own terms and at a time of its choosing, and not be drawn into a conflict that would be convenient for the terrorist group.

Israeli soldiers near the Gaza border near Sderot on August 24, 2021 (Menahem KAHANA / AFP)

However, the channel’s military analyst downplayed the report’s importance, saying Israel was still exploring options to reduce tensions.

Qatar’s support is seen as a crucial lifeline for impoverished Palestinians living in Gaza, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007, when the Hamas terror group seized power.

Israel, which still allows many goods in the Strip, sees the blockade as a necessary measure to prevent terrorist groups from rearming.

Prior to the last conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas-led fighters in May, the flow of funds from Qatar was seen as vital to maintaining relative calm between the Jewish state and the Islamists.

But Israel said it was opposed to resuming funding under conditions that existed before the May hostilities, saying the money was being used by armed groups rather than strictly for humanitarian needs.

Palestinians receive their financial aid as part of the assistance provided by Qatar, at a post office in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on October 6, 2020 (Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90)

The impasse appeared to have been resolved late last month when Israel and Qatar announced the approval of a new fund distribution mechanism, with money transferred directly to individuals by the United Nations.

As part of the program, Israel-approved beneficiaries in Gaza will receive UN credit cards to withdraw the funds, sources familiar with the deal said.

Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip Mohammed al-Emadi speaks at a press conference in Gaza City on May 14, 2019 (Mohammed Abed / AFP)

But aid distribution had not yet started and unrest persisted, with Palestinians staging protests and violent riots along the Gaza-Israel border. An Israeli soldier was shot dead by a gunman from Gaza in a border riot last month and later died of his injuries. Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.

A source within Hamas said a sticking point was his insistence that officials employed by Islamists be allowed to benefit from Qatari aid.

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