For months, Israel has been blocking the entry of monetary aid from Qatar to the besieged Gaza Strip as it believes the money will be transferred to Hamas.
A “secret agreement” between Qatar and the Palestinian Authority [PA] to provide a monthly grant of $30 million to 100,000 Palestinians in need, has not been officially confirmed, a top Hamas official told Doha News, dismissing the news as mere media statements.
Speaking to Doha News on Wednesday, media adviser to the leader of Hamas, Taher El Nounou said there are no official announcements made by any of the entities involved in the aid delivery regarding the reports, all of which cited Israeli media.
So far, Israel has continued to prevent the transfer of Qatar’s monetary aid to Gaza though discussions to ensure the delivery remain ongoing, the official said.
“The occupation is intransigent in allowing the entry of the Qatari grant as part of its attempts to pressure the Palestinian people and blackmail the people and their leaders,” said El Nounou.
This has remained the case since May when Israel launched a deadly offensive on the already besieged Strip, levelling residential and commercial high-rise buildings, medical facilities, and decimating much of the enclave.
The bombardment came to a halt after a Qatar and Egypt-brokered ceasefire came to effect. Shortly after, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani later pledged $500 million to help rebuild the Strip.
However, the reconstruction has been hindered by Israel, which quickly demanded a change in the logistics of how money is transferred over alleged concerns that the aid will reach Hamas.
Israel wants aid to through the United Nations or the PA instead.
Commenting on the logistics, the official said there has been no agreement regarding the strategy of the delivery as both Hamas and Qatar want to ensure that the intended recipients receive the donations in a transparent manner.
“We at Hamas will not give in the pressures and blackmailing attempts, we also express our appreciation to our brothers in Qatar who are working towards providing aid and its delivery,” said the Hamas official.
One part of the Qatari aid to Gaza includes fuel to power the city’s only power plant. While that has reached Gaza, it had faced obstructions by Israel
El Nounou confirmed that the gas shipment was successfully delivered to the city and that financial assistance remains pending.
“We are certain that Qatar is keen on successfully [delivering the aid to the intended beneficiaries,” he added.
Illegal Gaza siege
For 11 consecutive days in May, Israel led a brutal offensive on the already besieged Gaza strip, killing 256 Palestinians including 66 children, claiming it was fighting Hamas.
The air strikes worsened the living conditions in the Gaza Strip, which has already been suffering from an illegal Israeli embargo since 2006.
According to the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories [B’tselem], the entire population in Gaza requires at least 600 megawatts of electricity to ensure that it gets a 24/7 supply.
However, Palestinians living in the besieged area only receive 180 megawatts, of which 120 are directly from Israel. These are carried through 10 power lines and 60 others from Gaza’s power plant, funded by Qatar.
As a result of the limited access, residents receive electricity in eight-hour rotations and suffer in the heat with no power, sometimes for up to 12 hours.
Israel also controls up to 90% of water sources and figures show just 10.5% Palestinians in Gaza have access to safe drinking water.
More than 96% of water in Gaza’s aquifers are not safe for consumption, forcing Palestinians to buy water at inflated prices despite their full right to access it for free.
During the latest offensive, Israel wiped out up to 19 families from the Palestinian population registry and decimated residential and commercial tower blocks.