Qatar has distributed $100 grants to thousands of families in Gaza as part of an understanding with Israel intended to restore calm in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.
Under the agreement, gas-rich Qatar will make regular payments to impoverished families as part of an informal truce agreed between Israel and Gaza’s rulers, Hamas, in November.
Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi said on Wednesday that 60,000 families would receive the grants from post offices in the latest disbursement.
Mode of disbursement
The Gulf country, a long-standing ally of Hamas, had previously said the disbursements would reach 100,000 families, but Emadi amended the figure on Wednesday, saying the $4m saved would be allocated to “executing other sustainable projects that will be announced in the future”.
Emadi said that he had brought $25m in cash to Gaza on Sunday night, but that unspecified “technical issues” delayed the distribution of the grants.
Several hundred people were waiting to receive the money at a post office in central Gaza City on Thursday, according to AFP. The Communications Ministry in Gaza earlier posted a link on its website where Palestinian families could check whether they had been chosen to receive a $100 bill.
Visit by Qatari technical delegation
The distribution of grants follows a visit by a Qatari technical delegation earlier this week to Israel and the Gaza Strip to discuss funding a new power line between Qatar and Gaza. According to the World Bank, “the proposed line could help alleviate pressure caused by frequent power outages in Gaza, affecting the sewage treatment system and making some 90 percent of Gaza’s water unsafe to drink.”
The delivery of aid to the territory is complicated by both the ongoing land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007, and Hamas’s designation as a “terrorist” group by several countries and international bodies, including the United States and the European Union.
Despite the November truce, Hamas and Israel came close to a war again in May when Hamas and its allies fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, which struck dozens of targets.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.