Mohammed al-Emadi
Mohammed al-EmadiReuters

Qatar's envoy to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, told AFP in an interview on Saturday that the Gulf emirate's hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Gaza and its contacts with both Hamas and Israel are helping prevent another catastrophic war.

Emadi told the news agency that a new payment of $10 million is expected to be distributed on Sunday to 100,000 poor families in Gaza.

It is the latest in a succession of aid payments for fuel for electricity, salaries and assistance for needy families in the Gaza Strip from Qatar, which has budgeted some $330 million for the program launched last year.

Israel has previously allowed two installments of $15 million in Qatari money to enter Gaza. The money was to have been distributed in six installments, but Israel postponed the third following the shooting of an IDF soldier by a terrorist from Gaza.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Security Cabinet subsequently approved the transfer of the third installment, but Hamas refused to accept the money “in response to the occupation policy”.

Following criticism over the Qatari money going to Hamas, Emadi announced his country will no longer fund salaries of Hamas employees in Gaza and would instead donate the remaining $60 million in aid mostly through United Nations programs.

"The money is essential... because otherwise Gaza will be a place where nobody can survive or live," Emadi told AFP from his office in Al-Mashtal Hotel late Saturday during one of his periodic visits to Gaza City.

"We know the situation is very bad, so that's why our money helps a lot, and it helps in preventing a new war."

He added that it is "not only the aid. "The aid, the communication, the information... We are coordinating directly with the people who can take decisions."

Another war in Gaza would cost the international community far more in monetary terms, warned Emadi, but the humanitarian concerns are even greater, particularly with Gaza still recovering from the last conflict in 2014.

"Any new war with this situation, I think it will be catastrophic to Gaza and to the people of Gaza," he told AFP.

Emadi said he meets with leaders of both Hamas's political and military wings while also holding separate discussions with Israeli officials.

Qatar, like most Arab nations, has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel, and Emadi declined to say specifically who he holds talks with on the Israeli side.

Emadi last year acknowledged in an interview with AP that cooperation with Israel is needed in order to improve the situation in Gaza.

"When you want to do work in Gaza, you have to go through the Israelis. Without the help of Israel, nothing happens," he said at the time.

"This is part of our effort, working very closely with Israel, very closely with everyone in Gaza, to prevent any more escalation and war. We want peace in the region, and to help the people," he added.