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UAE to fund $15 million monthly to Gaza: official

Hamas could benefit from increased international legitimacy if it were to formally share control with Dahlan

Gulf News

Gaza: The United Arab Emirates will provide $15 million a month to Gaza, a Palestinian politician said Thursday.

Mohammad Dahlan, a foe of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has been improving relations with Islamists Hamas to the chagrin of the West Bank-based Abbas.

“Fifteen million dollars will be pumped monthly from the beginning of next month to the Palestinian Joint Liability Committee in support of relief, humanitarian and development projects in the Gaza Strip to alleviate their suffering,” Samir Al Mashharawi, an ally of Dahlan, said in a statement.

The committee was established in the wake of agreements made between Dahlan and Hamas in early July in Cairo.

Hamas, considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, European Union and Israel, could benefit from increased international legitimacy if it were to formally share control with Dahlan.

On Friday, Hamas leaders and Dahlan allies again met in Cairo to discuss easing the blockade of Gaza with Egyptian officials.

The Rafah crossing from Egypt has been largely closed in recent years due to disputes between Hamas and Cairo.

Israel has maintained a crippling blockade on Gaza for a decade.

Seeing his two longtime adversaries moving closer, Abbas has sought to weaken Hamas—reducing electricity funding for the strip and cutting salaries of state employees there.

In what is seen as the latest step in an effort to force Hamas to relinquish its control of Gaza, Abbas in June reduced the payments the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) makes to Israel for electricity it supplies to the territory.

The resulting cuts mean that Gaza’s two million people now have only 3 to 4 hours of power a day, forcing hospitals and other medical facilities to rely chiefly on generators and expensive fuel, while many private homes just go without.

Hamas says that Abbas restricted transfers of medicine to Gaza in March, accusing Hamas of failing to reimburse the PA for its purchases, and cut the salaries of its officials in May.

The spokesperson for Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, Ashraf Al Qidra, said PNA shipments of medicine, especially drugs to treat cancer and cystic fibrosis, have dropped 35 per cent since late March.