Qatari cash reaches Gaza in cam­paign to ease ten­sions

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - WORLD -

GAZA CITY, Pales­tinian Ter­ri­to­ries: Pales­tinian civil ser­vants formed long queues in Gaza to re­ceive mil­lions of dol­lars in Qatari-funded salaries, as part of ef­forts to ease ten­sions in and around the im­pov­er­ished ter­ri­tory.

For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive Fri­day, clashes along the Gaza­Is­rael bor­der were less vi­o­lent than in pre­vi­ous weeks, al­though one Pales­tinian was killed by Is­raeli fire and 37 oth­ers wounded by gun­shots, the Gaza health min­istry said.

Hun­dreds of demon­stra­tors gath­ered at points along the fron­tier but most kept a dis­tance from the sep­a­ra­tion bar­rier, correspondents said.

In Qatar’s op­er­a­tion, a to­tal of US$90 mil­lion is to be dis­trib­uted in six monthly in­stal­ments of US$15 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, pri­mar­ily to cover salaries of of­fi­cials work­ing for Ha­mas, the Is­lamist move­ment that rules the Pales­tinian en­clave.

Some ex­ited post of­fices, where the first in­stal­ment was be­ing dis­trib­uted, to show off hun­dred­dol­lar bills be­fore the cam­eras, af­ter sev­eral months of spo­radic salary pay­ments in cash-strapped Gaza. The money was driven into the Pales­tinian en­clave through Is­rael late by Qatar’s en­voy to Gaza, Mo­hammed al-Emadi, trans­port­ing suit­cases packed with dol­lars, ac­cord­ing to a Ha­mas source.

The Is­raeli-au­tho­rised money trans­fer ap­peared to be part of a deal that would see cash-strapped Ha­mas end months of of­ten vi­o­lent protests along the bor­der in ex­change for Is­rael eas­ing its block­ade of Gaza.

Qatar has also said it would hand out US$100 to each of 50,000 poor fam­i­lies, as well as larger sums to Pales­tini­ans wounded in clashes along Gaza’s bor­der with Is­rael.

“I came to col­lect US$400, my salary for July,” Fadi Abu Safia, a 35-year-old gov­ern­ment em­ployee, said at a post of­fice in Gaza City.

Mo­hamed Abed al-Hadi, 27, said he would be col­lect­ing 700 shekels (US$190 dol­lars), “quite a sum con­sid­er­ing the con­di­tions we’re liv­ing in”, as com­pen­sa­tion for an in­jury in the bor­der clashes.

Se­nior Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion of­fi­cial Ahmed Ma­j­dalani ex­pressed the dis­con­tent of the West Bank-based Pales­tinian Author­ity (PA) over the deal.

Emadi had ‘smug­gled the money’ into Gaza in suit­cases like a ‘gang­ster’, the of­fi­cial said.

“The PLO did not agree to the deal fa­cil­i­tat­ing the money to Ha­mas that way,” Ma­j­dalani, who is close to Pales­tinian pres­i­dent Mah­mud Ab­bas, told AFP.

Such a deal harmed Egyp­tian ef­forts to rec­on­cile Ha­mas and the PA and would al­low the Is­lamist move­ment to con­sol­i­date its con­trol over Gaza, Ma­j­dalani said. Ha­mas has con­trolled Gaza since oust­ing forces loyal to the in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised PA in a near civil war in 2007.

Is­raeli De­fence Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man crit­i­cised the Qatari money trans­fer to Gaza.

“This is ca­pit­u­la­tion to ter­ror­ism, and in ef­fect Is­rael is buy­ing short-term calm with money, while se­verely un­der­min­ing long-term se­cu­rity,” he said — AFP

Pales­tinian pro­test­ers hurl rocks at an Is­raeli army ve­hi­cle dur­ing a demon­stra­tion near the bor­der be­tween Is­rael and Khan Yu­nis in the south­ern Gaza Strip. — AFP photo

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