Cash That Hamas Refused to Be Redirected to Humanitarian Projects in Gaza, Qatari Envoy Says

Qatar is working on agreement with UN to distribute the funds in the Strip despite Hamas' rejection of the money so as not to serve as 'Israeli pawn'

Mohammed al-Emadi, chairman of Qatar's National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, arrives before a press conference in Gaza City on January 25, 2019.

Qatari funds that were supposed to arrive in Gaza but were refused by Hamas on Thursday will be redirected to humanitarian projects in the Strip in accordance with the United Nations, Qatari diplomat Muhammed al-Emadi stated Friday. 

Hamas agreed to the transcation. 

According to al-Emadi, the money will go to families in need and 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. 

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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. An envoy from Qatar, Mohammad Al- Emadi, arrived in Israel on Wednesday to make preparations for the transfer.

Emadi was to have left for Gaza early on Thursday. According to a source involved in discussions of the matter, all security cabinet members except for Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) supported the move. The beginning of the funds transfer was expected to take place on Thursday, but it is to be distributed to officials in Gaza only on Friday afternoon, at the time when protesters gather near the border fence.