Qatar Says to Increase Gaza Aid by $15 Million to Help 120,000 Families

Move follows a list of alleviating measures Hamas has obtained from Israel recently, mediated by Egyptian intelligence officials

Palestinian family in a refugee camp in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, January 2020.

Qatar's Foreign Ministry said Friday night the Doha would increase the aid it provides to the Gaza Strip by $15 million, as part of the efforts to alleviate conditions and increase stability in the enclave. 

The announcement came after a meeting between Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar.

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As part of the improved aid package, some 120,000 impoverished families will receive $100 dollars each by the end of February.

Moreover, poor-stricken families will receive financial support to pay for the rehabilitation of their homes totaling a million dollars, and an additional million dollars in aid to 500 young Palestinians from those families who are about to get married. Another million dollars will be given to Gazan students whose families are unable to pay their tuition.    

According to Al-Emadi, the aid package, meant to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the Strip, will be implemented in coordination with the relevant government offices in Gaza.

Al-Emadi added that $24 million will be allocated to building a new hospital in the Rafah area in southern Gaza.

In November 2019, Qatar began a six-month, $150 million program to fund civil servant wages and shipments of fuel for power generation in Gaza, offering a measure of reprieve to the blockaded enclave under the control of Islamist militant group Hamas. Qatar then gave $70 million dollars to 70 needy families.

Qatar hopes the aid will ease conditions and restore stability, part of efforts to bolster its international standing amid a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf neighbors.

Qatar has transferred the Gaza Strip over $1.1 billion from 2012 to 2018 with Israel's approval, according to data presented by an international source to Israeli ministers in 2019.

Sources affiliated with Hamas told Haaretz that Al-Emadi had arrived in Gaza through the Eretz Border Crossing after holding security talks with Israeli officials.

Al-Emadi's visit to the strip comes a week after an Egyptian delegation of security officials arrived in the enclave, the sources added.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokon said Tuesday that Israel had decided to increase the cap for permits given to workers and merchants in Gaza to 7,000, the highest level since Hamas' rule began in 2007.

It joins a list of other alleviating measures Hamas has obtained from Israel recently, mediated by Egyptian intelligence officials. These include the expansion of the fishing zone to 15 nautical miles from the coast, the import of large quantities of cement for construction without employing the tight supervision that was put in place after Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

On Wednesday, however, the Israeli army said it struck Islamic Jihad snipers who fired on Israeli troops along the Gaza border fence.

Following the incident, Islamic Jihad Secretary General Ziad al-Nakhalah said that "the campaign against Israel at this stage is at its peak as a political campaign, but this campaign could become a military campaign at any moment."