Qatar pledges $150 million in aid to Gaza

A day after buying fuel for Gaza power plant, Qatar pledges $150 million in aid for the coastal enclave.

Elad Benari ,

Flag of Qatar
Flag of Qatar

Qatar on Wednesday pledged $150 million in aid for Gaza, a day after fuel purchased by the Gulf state arrived at the only power station in the Hamas-run enclave.

A statement from Doha's foreign ministry quoted by AFP said the money had been pledged via the Qatar Development Fund, the government body responsible for distributing the country's foreign aid.

"Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, the Qatar Development Fund has pledged $150 million in humanitarian aid to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip," the ministry said.

It added that the United Nations Development Program would oversee distribution of the aid.

The UN estimated the value of Qatar's earlier donation of fuel at $60 million.

Gaza has been suffering from an electricity crisis and have been receiving an average of just four hours of electricity a day.

Much of this crisis is the result of sanctions on Gaza imposed by Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman, whose Fatah movement has been at odds for years with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers.

Abbas is trying to pressure Gaza's Hamas rulers to return control of Gaza to his Fatah movement, most notably by cutting electricity supplies to Gaza through Israel.

Abbas has refused moves to improve the electricity supply in Gaza unless there is progress in the PA-Hamas reconciliation talks.

The UN blames Israel's 11-year naval blockade of Gaza for what it calls a "catastrophic" humanitarian situation.

However, Israel regularly allows humanitarian aid and construction materials into Gaza, even as Hamas continues to attack southern Israel with rockets, openly threatens to destroy the Jewish state, and organizes weekly violent demonstrations in which Gazans try to infiltrate Israel through the border fence.

Israel assisted in Tuesday’s transfer of fuel to Gaza, a fact which was acknowledged by Jason Greenblatt, the US Special Representative for International Negotiations.

“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. The US thanks Qatar for its contribution to providing additional electricity to Gaza for the coming period,” he tweeted.

Qatar, which has poured billions into Gaza, is home to former prominent members of Hamas including ex-leader Khaled Mashaal.