Qatar de­liv­ers an­other $15 mil­lion to Gaza

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

The sec­ond pay­ment of the Qatari grant to the Gaza Strip was sched­uled to ar­rive in the Gaza Strip late Thurs­day.

Qatari en­voy Mo­hammed al-Emadi will de­liver the grant to Ha­mas lead­ers, ac­cord­ing to Pales­tinian sources. al-Emadi was sched­uled to en­ter the Gaza Strip through the Erez bor­der cross­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the sec­ond in­stall­ment of the Qatari aid will be dis­trib­uted as fol­lows: $5 mil­lion dol­lars for salaries, $5 mil­lion dol­lars for un­em­ployed Pales­tini­ans, and $5 mil­lion dol­lars for re­lief and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid.

Pales­tini­ans will be able to col­lect the pay­ments on Fri­day.

Last month, Qatar de­liv­ered an­other $15 mil­lion in cash to the Gaza Strip. Qatar pledged a to­tal of $90 mil­lion in aid to the Gaza Strip that will be dis­trib­uted over a pe­riod of six months.

On Wed­nes­day, Ha­mas said that the Pales­tinian Author­ity re­jected an of­fer to trans­fer the Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip through the Ra­mal­lah-based PA gov­ern­ment. Se­nior Ha­mas of­fi­cial Hus­sam Bad­ran said that although his move­ment and Qatar made the of­fer, it was turned down by the PA.

On Thurs­day, Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu said that there is higher su­per­vi­sion over where the money is go­ing to, now that Qatar is trans­fer­ring it, than when the Pales­tinian Author­ity did so.

The prime min­is­ter jus­ti­fied al­low­ing the trans­fer of the money, by say­ing that there is a hu­man­i­tar­ian prob­lem in Gaza that also im­pacts Is­rael. One ex­am­ple is the sewage that is start­ing to flow from Gaza into Ashkelon. The ques­tion, he asked, was how to deal with the hu­man­i­tar­ian prob­lem, and with what money should Is­rael con­front this prob­lem.

Ne­tanyahu said that Is­rael de­manded, and re­ceived, close su­per­vi­sion of who gets the money, in­clud­ing the sig­na­tures and fin­ger­prints of ev­ery­one who will re­ceive the funds.

“That way we know where the money goes,” he said.

Ne­tanyahu added that Ab­bas de­cided to sep­a­rate the West Bank from the Gaza Strip, and that Is­rael had no choice but to al­low in the funds in or­der to pre­vent a hu­man­i­tar­ian disas­ter.

Mu­nir al-Jaghoub, a se­nior Fatah of­fi­cial in the West Bank, crit­i­cized the way the Qatari money was be­ing de­liv­ered to the Gaza Strip. The money, he said, should be trans­ferred through the PLO, the “sole le­git­i­mate rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Pales­tinian peo­ple.” The Qatari funds were go­ing to Ha­mas and not to the Pales­tinian peo­ple, and this is un­for­tu­nate, he added.

The Fatah of­fi­cial claimed that the Qatari fi­nan­cial aid was part of an Is­raeli and Amer­i­can plan to “sep­a­rate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and Jerusalem.” He also claimed that the Qatari aid came in the con­text of nor­mal­iza­tion be­tween Is­rael and the Arab coun­tries.

De­posed Fatah of­fi­cial Mo­hammed Dahlan ac­cused Qatar of fur­ther­ing di­vi­sions among the Pales­tini­ans.

In an in­ter­view with Al-Ha­dath, a tele­vi­sion news channel based in the United Arab Emi­rates (UAE), Dahlan, who was ex­pelled from Fatah seven years ago after fall­ing out with PA Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ab­bas and his two sons, said that Qatar has not sup­ported the Pales­tinian peo­ple, but rather spe­cific Pales­tinian fac­tions.

“The Qatari money is be­ing paid to Ha­mas through the Is­raeli De­fense Min­istry,” said Dahlan, who lives in the UAE and who has been ac­cused by the PA of fi­nan­cial cor­rup­tion and mur­der.

“Qatar car­ries suit­cases and hands them over to the Is­raeli De­fense Min­istry. Then the Qatari am­bas­sador car­ries the suit­cases and trav­els with them to the Erez bor­der cross­ing, where he de­liv­ers the money. I can prob­a­bly un­der­stand Ha­mas’s need for money. But the Qatari en­voy thinks that the Pales­tinian peo­ple are starv­ing and wait­ing for his char­ity. He lives in Tel Aviv and thinks he’s do­ing some­thing great. If Qatar wants rec­on­cil­i­a­tion among the Pales­tini­ans, it should not be­have this way.”

Dahlan, who pre­vi­ously served as a se­cu­rity com­man­der in the Gaza Strip, pointed out that Qatar’s fi­nan­cial aid to the Pales­tini­ans has been very lim­ited. In the past nine years, he said, Qatar gave the United Na­tions Re­lief and Works Agency (UNRWA) only $5 mil­lion. Saudi Ara­bia, mean­while, has given UNRWA $832 mil­lion since 2009, while the UAE contributed $231 mil­lion dur­ing the same pe­riod.

“Qatar is a small coun­try, and I re­spect the Qatari peo­ple, but I have no re­spect for the Qatari gov­ern­ment, which sup­ports ter­ror­ist groups,” Dahlan said. He also lashed out at Ab­bas, holding him pri­mar­ily re­spon­si­ble for the on­go­ing dis­pute be­tween Fatah and Ha­mas.

Ab­bas, he said, is no longer in charge be­cause the Is­raeli Civil Ad­min­is­tra­tion is re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery­thing in the West Bank. “All he can do is travel from his of­fice in Ra­mal­lah to Jor­dan,” Dahlan said. “Ab­bas has harmed the Pales­tini­ans in the Gaza Strip in a way that even Is­rael hasn’t. He has halted salaries to fam­i­lies of mar­tyrs and pris­on­ers, as well as to em­ploy­ees.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this re­port

(Amir Co­hen/Reuters)

IS­RAELI TEENS Meshy Elmkies (R), 16, and Lee Co­hen, 17, co-man­agers of the In­sta­gram ac­count Otef.Gaza, show Reuters jour­nal­ists an in­cen­di­ary kite launched from the Gaza Strip, dur­ing an in­ter­view last month in Kib­butz Kerem Shalom.

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