Qatar’s amir also donated QAR 100 million (around $27.5 million) to back the Qatari campaign.
The Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) is planning to deploy an aid ship for Gaza in an effort to provide much-needed humanitarian relief amid the ongoing Israeli war.
“Set to leave Doha soon, the aid ship is part of Qatar’s ongoing relief efforts since 7 October, thanks to the #PalestineDuty fundraising campaign,” QRCS said in a statement on Sunday, without mentioning the ship’s launch date.
The aid group said the ship would be the equivalent of 30 aircrafts carrying “a wide range of vital relief materials to meet the health, food, and shelter needs of affected people”.
Qatar has so far sent 44 Qatari Armed Forces aircrafts to Egypt’s El Arish Airport carrying 1,464 tonnes of aid for Gaza, according to figures shared by Doha’s foreign ministry on December 13.
The latest QRCS initiative came after the “Palestine Duty” charity campaign that took place on Monday as part of Qatar National Day, which encouraged the local community to donate for Palestine.
The campaign gathered a total of QAR 200,048,750 (around $55 million) in donations for Gaza. Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani also donated QAR 100 million (around $27.5 million) to back the initiative.
The donation is in addition to the $50 million Qatar pledged on December 13 at the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva as an initial humanitarian aid package for Gaza.
Qatar had also pledged to provide 100 scholarships for Palestinians to continue their studies in Doha through Education Above All Foundation’s (EAA) Al Fakhoora programme.
EAA established the Al Fakhoora programme in 2010 to honour the victims of prior Israeli bombardments of 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.
On December 3, Qatar’s amir issued a directive to sponsor 3,000 orphans and treat 1,500 injured Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
‘Starvation as a weapon’
The donations come as Israel’s brutal siege and assault on the coastal enclave persists for more than two months.
Since October 7, Israel has killed at least 19,453 Palestinians in Gaza, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Euro-Med reported a much higher figure on Sunday of 25,612, including 10,091 children and those who are presumed dead under the rubble. The European agency has not updated the figure since December 17.
Gaza has been under a complete Israeli air, land and sea siege that has placed the strip under a chokehold, depriving its 2.2 million population of basic resources. Israel has also limited the entry of aid into Gaza through the shared Rafah Crossing with Egypt, where foreign humanitarian aid has piled up.
On December 15, Israeli authorities announced the temporary reopening of the Karem Abu Salem crossing with Gaza, in response to the United States’ calls to increase the entry of aid into the besieged enclave.
On Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report saying that Israel has been using starvation as a “weapon of war” in Gaza.
“For over two months, Israel has been depriving Gaza’s population of food and water, a policy spurred on or endorsed by high-ranking Israeli officials and reflecting an intent to starve civilians as a method of warfare,” Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director at HRW, said in the report.
HRW also described Israel’s blockade of Gaza as “a war crime”, noting that Israel “is compounding its collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.”
“The deepening humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza calls for an urgent and effective response from the international community,” Shakir added.