Qatar to increase annual aid to Gaza by 50%

Palestinians hold placards during Qatar National Day celebrations organised by Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza in Khan Yunis, Gaza (Mustafa Hassona - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  February 1, 2021

The Qatari government announced yesterday it would increase its financial assistance to the Gaza Strip from an estimated $240 million to $360 million a year.

“This grant will be used to pay employees’ salaries, provide financial aid to needy families, and operate power stations to limit the worsening of the humanitarian situation, and difficult living conditions in the Strip,” the Qatari government said in a statement.

The senior Qatari official stressed that international solidarity and support for Gaza “is currently weak, unlike ten years ago.”

Since 2018, the Gulf state has been providing grants to poor families in Gaza as part of ceasefire understandings between Israel and resistance groups in the enclave, which has been under a strict Israeli siege since mid-2007.

A UN report issued in June 2018 said that 53 per cent of Gaza’s over two million population live in poverty and 80 per cent depend on international aid.

According to the Times of Israel, Qatari envoy Mohammad al-Emadi arrived in Gaza Strip yesterday to announce projects backed by Doha.

Head of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh thanked Qatar for its continuous support.

He said: “This support is an extension of the faithful position of the State of Qatar in easing the siege on our people in Gaza, and toward the Palestinian people in general. It proves the depth of the ties between the Palestinian and Qatari peoples.”

Gaza has been paralysed as a result of 14-year old Israeli imposed, Egypt supported, siege which limits products entering and exiting the Strip. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the situation as authorities have been forced to put in place strict lockdown measures to stop the spread of the deadly disease.