The Palestinian Authority, Qatar, and an electric company based in Gaza inked an agreement on Sunday, laying the groundwork for an initiative to run Gaza’s only power plant with gas from Israel, i24NEWS reported.
The Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammad al-Emadi, said the agreement formalizes an investment of $60 million towards the construction of the gas pipeline.
The project, known as the Gas for Gaza initiative, aims to exchange the power plant’s diesel fuel for natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan gas field.
Qatar has been involved in several projects in the Gaza Strip. It 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.
Last month, Hamas announced an agreement by which Qatar will resume subsidizing the salaries of public employees by sending fuel to the Gaza Strip.
Under the deal reached with Qatar and Egypt, the wealthy Gulf nation will send fuel to Gaza from Egypt that Hamas can resell in order to help cover payrolls.