Seven truckloads of diesel fuel provided by Qatar will be delivered to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday.
Two truckloads of fuel were delivered on Tuesday. According to spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the deliveries will gradually increase to 15 a day by the end of the month.
"In addition to other long-term efforts underway to increase the energy supply, additional fuel for the Gaza Power Plant remains the fastest and most immediate way to increase electricity and help alleviate the humanitarian and related public health needs on the ground," Guterres' spokesman said. "The Secretary-General expresses his deep appreciation to the Government of Qatar for its $60 million contribution, which made this delivery possible and will allow its continuation for the coming months."
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Dujarric added that "the return of the Palestinian Authority will substantially better the humanitarian situation of Gaza’s population. Gaza remains an integral part of the two-state solution based on relevant UN resolutions.We hope that relieving the humanitarian pressure in Gaza will reduce tensions and the threat of escalation. Furthermore, we call on the Palestinian Authority and Hamas to seriously engage with Egypt on reconciliation and move forward with implementing the 12 October 2017 Cairo Agreement."
The fuel was funded by Qatar, as was first reported last week by Haaretz, despite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' opposition. Despite the Israeli security establishment warning against moving forward with reconciliation without Abbas' involvement, it supported the fuel transfer.
The contact over fuel supplies have been conducted in recent months under the direction of UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov. Qatar was represented by Mohammed al-Emadi, who has acted as a contact between the Gulf state and Israel and the territories.
The issue has been handled for the most part on Israel's behalf by Meir Ben-Shabbat, the head of the National Security Council.
A breakthrough on the issue was achieved at a conference last week in New York of donor countries providing assistance to the Palestinians on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session.
Also Tuesday, the U.S. envoy for the Mideast joined in praising Qatar. "The US appreciates the efforts of the UN, Egypt, Qatar and Israel to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Gaza and efforts to achieve the goal of an enduring cease fire," Jason Greenblatt wrote on Twitter. "The US thanks Qatar for its contribution to providing additional electricity to Gaza for the coming period."