Qatar has been juggling multiple diplomatic and humanitarian fronts in its efforts to secure a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
Qatar pledged $50 million on Wednesday at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva as an initial humanitarian aid package for Gaza and to provide 100 scholarships for Palestinians to continue their studies in Doha through an Education Above All Foundation program.
Qatar’s Minister of State for International Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lolwah Al Khater, announced the Qatari donation at the event organized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Al Khater explained that the aid package will assist refugees, displaced people, the wounded, orphans, and those affected by the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. The Qatari official also announced that the scholarship recipients would continue their studies under EAA’s Al Fakhoora programme.
EAA had established the Al Fakhoora programme in 2010 “to honour the victims” of prior bombardments in Gaza. Its name is inspired by the Al-Fakhoura school in Jabalia, which Israel attacked on November 18, killing an estimated 200 displaced Palestinians sheltering inside the facility.
Israel also destroyed the programme’s Al-Fakhoora House, an educational facility in the south of Gaza, on October 10.
Speaking at the summit in Geneva, Al Khater stressed the need for “a just and durable solution” for 5.9 million registered Palestinian refugees who have been displaced since 1948, known as the Nakba or “catastrophe.”
The Nakba marked the mass exodus of at least 750,000 Palestinians forced by Zionist militias to establish Israel.
Al Khater added that Israel’s current acts in Gaza “constitute a genocide against the indigenous Palestinian population, and crimes against humanity, as well as war crimes.”
Since October 7, Israel has killed at least 18,608 Palestinians in Gaza, 70% of whom are women and children, according to the latest figures by the health ministry in Gaza.
Euro-Med reported a much higher figure on Monday of 24,142, including 9,420 children and those who are presumed dead under the rubble. The European rights organisation has not updated the figure since December 11.
Qatar’s efforts in Gaza
Qatar has been juggling multiple diplomatic and humanitarian fronts under its efforts to secure a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
The Gulf state, alongside Egypt, mediated a temporary truce that began on November 24 and was renewed twice, ultimately ending on December 1 and lasting seven days.
The pause led to the release of at least 110 Israeli and foreign captives from Gaza, according to a Doha News tally. As part of the deal, Israel released 240 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons.
Israel resumed its brutal war on Gaza after the truce expired on Friday, December 1 , while advancing deeper into the Palestinian enclave, despite 135 captives still in the area.
Qatar has repeatedly stressed that its end goal is to reach a comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza.
Apart from its diplomatic efforts, Qatar has been providing Gaza with much-needed humanitarian assistance.
The Gulf state has sent 44 aid flights with a total of 1,464 tonnes of aid since the beginning of the Israeli genocide in Gaza, according to figures shared by Qatar’s foreign ministry on Wednesday.
On December 3, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued a directive to sponsor 3,000 orphans and treat 1,500 injured Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The Gulf State will also supervise the transfer of the wounded in coordination with Egypt in preparation for treatment in specific hospitals that were not named.
So far, Doha has welcomed two groups of wounded Palestinians, but Doha News is unable to verify the total number of those transported to the country and the names of the hospitals remain unknown.
On December 4, the Qatar Fund for Development and the United Nations’ Palestinian refugee agency, also known as UNRWA, agreed to a $18 million agreement for the year 2023-2024 to support Palestinian refugees amid the ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza.
The Qatari and Palestinian red crescents have also started setting up a Qatari field hospital in Rafah on Wednesday with the capacity of 50 beds, an operating room and an intensive care unit.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said on its X page that the hospital’s operations are expected to begin in a week.
The Qatari-sponsored field hospitals come as the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that Gaza’s health system had collapsed. More than 50,594 Palestinians have been injured by the Israeli bombardment.
Two thirds of Gaza’s hospitals and over 70% of its primary healthcare facilities are out of operation, Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, the World Health Organization’s representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told reporters on Tuesday.
Occupation forces are still forcefully evacuating hospitals in Gaza where displaced people have been sheltering. An estimated 90% of Palesinians in Gaza are displaced, which is almost 2 million people.
WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday that Israel “forcefully evacuated” the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza after Israeli tanks surrounded the facility for days.
Lindmeier said some 69 patients, including 18 under intensive care and six newborns, were reportedly at the site in addition to “thousands of displaced people.”
Israeli forces also arrested the hospital’s director, Ahmed Al-Kahlout, and took some 70 medical staff to an unknown location, the UN OCHA confirmed on December 13.