Dubai: Qatar on Tuesday said it is sending $480 million to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip after a cease-fire deal ended the deadliest fighting between the Israeli regime and Palestinian fighters since a 2014 war.
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said $300 million would support health and education programmes of the Palestinian National Authority, while $180 million would go towards “urgent humanitarian relief” in UN programs and towards electricity. The Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip suffers from chronic electricity shortages.
The recent two-day outbreak of violence killed 25 people in Gaza, both fighters and civilians, and four civilians in Israel.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Egyptian mediators, along with officials from Qatar and the UN, helped reach the cease-fire deal. The Palestinians have been divided between two rival governments since 2007, when Hamas overran forces from the internationally recognised PNA in Gaza. Hamas has ruled Gaza since then, with the PNA administering autonomous zones in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Both Palestinian governments are in deep financial distress. The PNA has been hit hard by cuts of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid by the United States, as well as a dispute with Israel over tax transfers.
Israel has begun to withhold money from these transfers that it says the Palestinians give to families of Palestinian fighters who have been jailed or killed in fighting with Israel.
Palestinians have refused to accept the tax transfers unless the funding is fully restored.
The aid cuts and refusal to accept partial tax transfers have plunged the PNA into a deep crisis in which it is only able to pay its workers half of their salaries.