According to Israeli media, the Palestinian Authority with not be involved in the transfer of Qatari money to Gaza.
The United Nations (UN) will step in to facilitate the delivery and transfer of Qatari aid to Gaza according to a newly changed transfer mechanism, a report said on Saturday.
In May, Israeli authorities announced they would study the possibility of changing logistics for the entry of Qatari aid into Gaza. Israel later demanded Qatar to directly deposit all donations to the Palestinian Authority (PA) or international organisations.
However, recents report said the PA would no longer be involved in the transfer of the Qatari cash to the besieged enclave, and that it would be done through the UN instead, the Times of Israel reported.
Aid to the Gaza Strip was previously sent in suitcases of cash. This has also now changed and will instead reach the Strip through “other means”, though no other details were disclosed.
Qatar has provided millions in cash to the Strip with Israel’s approval for years.At the start of 2021, the Gulf state had already pledged $360 million in aid to Gaza to help pay for salaries, assist families in need, and for the construction of a power station as Gaza continues to suffer from stifling living conditions, including an ongoing electricity crisis.
In May, shortly after a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani pledged an additional $500 million dollars to help rebuild the Strip.
At least 255 people including 66 children were killed in the 11-day Israeli bombardment that decimated entire residential and commercial buildings in Gaza.
However, since then, Tel Aviv has refused to allow the transfer of millions of dollars over claims that it will go towards Hamas, which runs the enclave.
Meanwhile, Egypt has also opposed restarting the Qatari payments, insisting that a new mechanism be used to transfer them to Gaza so that they do not reach Hamas. On 10 June, Israeli media reported that Israeli authorities asked Egypt to stop the entry of goods to Gaza, mainly cement, construction materials and fuel.
In recent weeks, senior Qatari officials as well as Hamas leaders have refuted those claims.
“Qatar has invested one billion four hundred million dollars in rehabilitating the Strip since 2012, and Israel knows exactly where all the money goes,” said Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
The refusal to transfer aid prompted Hamas to send warnings that it would revive the Great March of Return border fence protests if aid does not enter Gaza.
According to Israeli reports, delays in receiving the latest installations of aid have contributed to the renewal of Hamas’ incendiary balloon attacks.
Israel responded to the balloon attacks by launching renewed airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, breaking a ceasefire with Hamas that was recently brokered by Egypt and Qatar.
Covid-19 vaccine exchange
Separately on Friday, the PA cancelled an agreement with Israel regarding the exchange of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines. Israel said it would transfer about 1 million doses of Covid-19 shots to the PA in exchange for a similar number of fresh doses that Palestinians were expecting to receive later this year.
However, the doses Israel said it would transfer were very near to their expiration date.
“After the technical teams in the ministry of health examined the first batch of the Pfizer vaccines that were received this evening from Israel, it became clear that the 90,000 doses received do not conform to the specifications contained in the agreement,” said PA spokesman Ibrahim Melhem.
Israel’s position as an occupying power means that it has an obligation to provide vaccines to the indigenous Palestinian population.
Since the pandemic started last year, Israel has faced global scrutiny for not sharing its vaccines with the 4.5 million Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.