Qatar to disburse Gaza aid in 'coordination with UN'

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) –


Qatar said Friday it will adopt a new formula for aid to Gaza after the Palestinian enclave's rulers Hamas rejected a cash injection over alleged unacceptable Israeli conditions.

The Qatari ambassador to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, said that his country would now channel millions of dollars in humanitarian projects "in full coordination with the United Nations".

A first package of agreements, worth $20 million (17.6 million euros), will be signed with the UN on Monday, he told reporters in Gaza City.

Details of the scheme are so far unclear and there was no immediate comment from the UN.

Under an informal agreement struck in November, $90 million in Qatari aid was to have been transferred in six monthly instalments to Hamas.

Two $15 million payments have so far been delivered to Hamas but a third, which was due this week, was blocked by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli leader took the decision after two shooting incidents along the Gaza-Israel border, including one in which a soldier was lightly injured by Palestinian fire.

Israel's permission is required since the cash must be delivered via its territory.

The authorities eventually relented and gave the go-ahead for the delayed transfer.

But Hamas announced Thursday it would not accept it, charging Israel with adding conditions not covered by the November agreement.

The Islamist group did not give further details.

After months of violence, Israel and Hamas agreed an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in November.

Under the deal Qatar was to pay salaries of Hamas employees and help impoverished Gazans in exchange for relative calm along the border, where often violent protests have taken place since March 2018.