Qatar Ambassador in Gaza Leading ‘Intensive Talks’ to Prevent Escalation With Israel

Jack Khoury
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Fires near the Gaza border sparked by incendiary balloons, August 14, 2020.
Fires near the Gaza border sparked by incendiary balloons, August 14, 2020.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Jack Khoury

Qatar is making great efforts to prevent a military escalation between Israel and Hamas, said the Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, on Wednesday.

Qatar is “conducting intensive talks on the highest level with the goal of preventing an escalation and to protect the residents of Gaza from more crises and blows,” he said.

On Tuesday, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said that the Air Force had attacked Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip in response to the firing of a rocket at Israel and other hostile activities. The IDF has been attacking Hamas targets in Gaza every night in recent days because of the resumption of incendiary balloons launches into Israel.

Israel has also retaliated by halting shipments of diesel fuel into Gaza causing the sole power plant to stop producing electricity on Tuesday. The shutdown of the power station has led to a reduction in the electricity supply from eight to 12 hours a day – to only three or four hours a day.

The only remaining electricity in Gaza is now supplied directly by Israel as Egypt has stopped providing electricity in February.

Israel’s Fire and Rescue Service reported that 39 fires were caused in border communities by the arson balloons on Tuesday, although most small. One such balloon was discovered in a school in the Sha’ar Hanegev regional council and was reported to the police. 

Defense officials say the security incidents along the border with the Gaza Strip in the past few weeks are part of an attempt by Hamas to put pressure on Israel to keep its commitments to the organization, as part of the understandings between the sides. But Israeli officials do not think Hamas is interested in a confrontation with Israel.

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