Qatari Envoy Headed for Gaza as Israel's Security Cabinet Set to Convene Over Border Tensions

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Palestinians evacuate a wounded demonstrator during clashes with Israeli forces near the fence along the border with Israel on June 14, 2019.
Palestinians evacuate a wounded demonstrator during clashes with Israeli forces near the fence along the border with Israel on June 14, 2019.Credit: AFP

Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi will be arriving in Gaza Sunday, the Gazan news agency SAWA reported Saturday.

Al-Emadi will hold meetings in Israel and visit the Strip in the evening to discuss implementing the cease-fire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinian factions in May.

According to the report, Al-Emadi will meet with senior Hamas officials and conduct meetings for the Qatari National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza. The report did not mention whether the envoy would be bringing money for Palestinians, as the Gulf country pledged it would last month.  

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An Egyptian delegation is also expected to arrive in Gaza in the coming days to discuss prolonging the calm on the border. The two visits coincide with Hamas' warnings to escalate cross-border violence over what they consider to be Israeli foot-dragging in implementing the cease-fire agreement.

Concurrently, the Israeli security cabinet is expected to meet Sunday, prior to a government meeting that will be held in the Golan Heights to discuss tensions on the northern border and in the Palestinian territories.

A senior official in the organizing committee of the weekly March of Return demonstrations on the Gaza border told Haaretz that Palestinian factions, including Hamas, are demanding the transfer of additional funds from Qatar. They also demand a further easing of the import of dual-purpose goods from Israel, meaning goods which can be used for civilian or military purposes, and progressing with humanitarian projects.

Although Gazans noted that Israel expanded Gaza's fishing zone, as per the agreement, the Israel Defense Forces imposed a maritime blockade on the area Wednesday after incendiary balloons launched from the Strip started five fires on the Israeli side of the border.  

On Friday, 46 Gazans were injured during the weekly border protests, three of them after trying to break through the fence. Firefighters on the Israeli side worked to extinguish blazes that broke out after Gazans launched incendiary balloons from the Strip. The day before, a rocket was fired into Israel from Gaza, hitting a school building in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. The IDF hit targets in the Strip Thursday overnight in retaliation.

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