After Israeli Delay and Hamas' Refusal, Qatari Cash Enters Gaza Strip

Hamas refused to accept the money in protest of Israel's delay. Now, 94,000 families in need will receive $400 in cash over the next four months

A Palestinian Hamas-hired civil servant displays U.S. Dollars after receiving her salary paid by Qatar in the southern Gaza Strip, December 7, 2018.
Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

The Qatari funds that were supposed to arrive in Gaza but were refused by Hamas on Thursday began to be transferred to the Strip Saturday through the Erez crossing and will reach 94,000 families in need.

Each family will receive $400 in four installments over the next four month, head of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi, said. Al-Emadi landed in Israel on Wednesday to make preparations for the transfer.

The first 44,000 families will be able to access the funds between Saturday and Thursday at Gaza's post office branches. On Sunday, the funds for the remaining 50,000 families will be transferred, al-Emadi said. 

On Friday, al-Emadi said that the funds that Hamas refused will be redirected to humanitarian projects in the Strip in accordance with the United Nations and Hamas. 

Al-Emadi added on Friday that in addition to going to families in need the funds will also be aimed at bolstering medical services and electricity in the coastal enclave.

The Qatari envoy noted that Doha intends to create new workplaces Gaza, and is already in contact with the UN to sign on an initial agreement to provide $20 million for such projects. 

Al-Emadi said that Qatar's intention by offering the money was to help Gazans, and added that he wished to dispel claims that Qatar sought to gain temporary calm in Gaza by an influx of cash that would distract from the ongoing struggle of Palestinians.

At this point, it is still unclear who would pay the salaries of Hamas clerks, whose paychecks so far have been funded by Qatar. 

Hamas informed Qatar it will not accept the $15 million cash infusion into the Strip, the group's deputy chief said Thursday soon after Israel confirmed that it had approved the transfer of the Qatari funds. 

Khalil al-Haya said that Israel has failed to abide by its agreement to permit the funds to enter the enclave every month. According to Palestinian news agency Ma'an, he added that Gaza will not become a pawn in the upcoming Israeli election.

The transfer that was to be delivered next was delayed for more than two weeks following an escalation in violence along Israel’s border with Gaza.

Earlier Thursday, Israel confirmed it had approved the transfer of $15 million from Qatar following recommendations from the security establishment officials. The money was expected to be distributed at the end of the week. 

Meanwhile, a Fatah senior official, Azzam al-Ahmad, said Saturday that there are discussions in Ramallah on the establishment of a new government in the next few weeks. As part of the discussions, he said, officials are considering raising the salary of government employees by 50 percent.