$15M from Qatar to pay salaries in Gaza

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - — COM­PILED BY DEMO­CRAT-GAZETTE STAFF FROM WIRE RE­PORTS

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s Ha­mas rulers lauded on Fri­day what they de­scribed as a gain from the weekly bor­der fence protests, which of­ten have turned deadly, af­ter re­ceiv­ing $15 mil­lion from Qatar to help pay the salaries of the ter­ri­tory’s civil ser­vants.

“To­day, we see some fruits of the protests — the par­tial break­ing of the siege on Gaza,” Khalil al-Hayya, a se­nior Ha­mas of­fi­cial, told re­porters at a protest in east Gaza City, re­fer­ring to the grant. “We are still wait­ing for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of all other un­der­stand­ings.”

Since March, the Is­lamic mil­i­tant group has or­ches­trated weekly demon­stra­tions along the fence, in large part against a block­ade Is­rael and Egypt im­posed when it seized Gaza in 2007.

Qatar, Egypt and the United Na­tions, act­ing as go-be­tweens for Ha­mas and Is­rael, in­ten­si­fied their shut­tle diplo­macy in re­cent weeks af­ter a full-blown war be­tween Ha­mas and Is­rael ap­peared im­mi­nent.

The Qatari grant is part of in­di­rect Ha­mas-Is­rael agree­ments to im­prove liv­ing con­di­tions for Gaza’s 2 mil­lion peo­ple and sub­se­quently scale down the bor­der protests, in which 170 Pales­tini­ans and an Is­raeli sol­dier have been killed since they be­gan in March.

AP/ADEL HANA

A Ha­mas gov­ern­ment em­ployee waits to re­ceives 60 per­cent of his long-over­due salary Fri­day in Gaza City while oth­ers wait in line.

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