For the first time since the escalation of a conflict between Israel and Hamas, Qatar has started assistance shipment to the besieged Gaza Strip.
The money is being disbursed through supermarkets, money exchange shops, and other retail stores, according to Hamas’ official press agency. This process will continue in the coming days. On Wednesday, the office of Qatar’s Gaza envoy, Mohammed el-Amadi, verified that payments had resumed. According to the UN, the funding totals $40 million.
According to local reports, the aid will be distributed in 320 shekels (about $100) and “not in dollars like it used to be before.”
Since Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza, Qatar has provided hundreds of millions of dollars to the Gaza Strip.
Prior to the most recent escalation in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, Qatari officials transported millions of dollars in cash via the Beit Hanoun border crossing, which Israel controls. Within Israel, the approach has caused debate, with some pointing to the optics and accusing the government of caving into Hamas pressure.
Previously, Qatari money was used to help tens of thousands of needy families and to pay the wages of government employees in Gaza. The help to the families has begun, but a deal on the funding for Hamas’ government salaries has yet to be reached.
Following the resumption of war between Israel and Hamas in May, the US committed to assisting the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in rebuilding Gaza. However, the Palestinian Authority (PA), which administers some sections of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, pulled out of the aid arrangement.
As a result, the UN said on Monday that Qatari cash would be disbursed using the same system that its agencies use in the country.