Qatar Pledges $480 Million for West Bank and Gaza Aid, Foreign Ministry Says

$300 million will go toward education and health in the Palestinian Authority while the remaining money will go to humanitarian support

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Palestinian man rides his horse past the UNRWA relief and social programme office in Gaza City, January 8, 2018.
Palestinian man rides his horse past the UNRWA relief and social programme office in Gaza City, January 8, 2018.Credit: Mohammed Abed/AFP

Qatar pledged $480 million in support of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, Qatar's Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Qatar allocated $300 million in grants and loans to support the Palestinian Authority's budget for the health and education sectors. The other $180 million will go to urgent rescue and humanitarian support, as well as supporting the United Nations' programs and to support the electricity services to ensure various sectors of the Palestinian people have access to them.

Following an escalation that began Saturday morning, an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement was reached with Israel on Monday to end the recent surge of violence in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel.

In two days of fighting, more than 600 rockets were launched at Israel, while the Israeli army struck hundreds of targets in the Strip. Four Israelis were killed and four were wounded as rockets fell on the south of Israel. 25 Palestinians, including two pregnant women and two infants, were killed, as Israeli struck hundreds of targets in Gaza.

Qatar has provided Hamas in the Gaza Strip with over $1.1 billion from 2012 to 2018, with the approval of the Israeli government, according to information presented to the Israeli security cabinet in January.

In 2018 alone, Qatar gave Hamas in Gaza $200 million for humanitarian aid, fuel and government salaries – and pledged to provide hundreds of millions of dollars more through United Nations aid groups.

About 44 percent of the money provided by Qatar during this period was invested in infrastructure, about 40 percent was used for education and health care – and the rest went to support Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip.

Qatar also gave $50 million to UNRWA, the United Nations relief agency for the Palestinian refugees. UNRWA was on the verge of closing down many of its programs after the United States decided to stop funding for the organization. In January, Qatar signed an agreement in which it would contribute $500 million to various UN agencies, and most of the money is expected to go to enabling UNRWA to continue operating in Gaza. This money will help to fund 180,000 Gazans and reduce unemployment.

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