A Hamas official said on Monday that Qatar will start sending Gaza up to $10 million worth of Egyptian fuel a month, under a plan to fund civil service pay in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.
The comments come days after Qatar and Egypt announced they had signed agreements to supply fuel and basic building materials to the Gaza Strip.
The announcement was made last week in Oslo by Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Qatar's minister of state for foreign affairs, during a ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the international donor group for Palestinian Arabs.
A source familiar with the talks said on Monday Qatar and Hamas had not yet finalized an agreement over the initiative, which would see Hamas sell the fuel to Gaza petrol stations and use the proceeds to pay civil servants, including doctors and teachers.
Qatar and Hamas are still in discussions over checks Doha requires to ensure the proceeds of the fuel sold reach the civil servants it is intended for, the source added.
The initiative would help bypass Israeli curbs on Qatari aid to the enclave put in place before a war between Israel and Hamas last May.
"According to the agreement, Qatar will pay the equivalent of its monthly aid to Gaza civil servants, which is between $7 and $10 million, in fuel," said Salama Marouf, director of Gaza's government media office, according to Reuters.
The fuel "will come through the (Egyptian) border crossing, and will then be sold in the market ... the proceeds will then go to the treasury of the Gaza finance ministry, which will later pay it out to employees."
Marouf said the cash raised from selling the fuel would help pay around 40,000 civil servants in Gaza.
Spokespeople for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the Defense Ministry declined to comment.
Qatar has provided hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to pay for electricity in the Strip, build new roads and hospitals, help Hamas cover the salaries of its civil servants and provide monthly stipends to poor families.
Israel has approved the transfer of the Qatari money and has come under fire for doing so as Hamas continues to regularly fire rockets at Israeli towns in the south.
Following Operation Guardian of the Walls, it was reported that Israel plans to reevaluate the way in which the Qatari money enters Gaza in order to ensure that the funds go to the needy population of the Strip and not into the hands of Hamas.
Palestinian Arab sources later said that the United Nations would take on the responsibility of distributing the Qatari monetary aid to families in the Gaza Strip, replacing the previous method which involved suitcases full of cash entering the Strip through Israel.