A newspaper in the Gaza Strip has reported that Qatar is about to deliver around 40 million litres of fuel to the beleaguered territory. Shaikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani has ordered a ship carrying the oil to proceed to Ashdod, the nearest Israeli port to Gaza. The Israeli authorities have agreed to accept delivery of the fuel and have consented for it to be transferred across the border.
The main power plant in Gaza has been facing a severe fuel shortage for weeks now, due to the Israeli-led siege. A humanitarian and health crisis is already developing, with uncollected rubbish piling up on the streets and hospitals unable to operate life-saving equipment.
Talks to solve the fuel shortage have been taking place in Qatar involving the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister from Ramallah, Rami Hamdallah. Suggested solutions have included the transfer of Qatari fuel stored in Egypt for use in Gaza, which is being blocked by the coup authorities; the EU providing fuel rather than financial support; and increasing the electricity supply sent by Israel from 100 to 220 MW.
The fuel shortages have worsened since the coup in Egypt and the destruction of many of the tunnels under the border with Gaza. Efforts to resolve the situation have seen Qatar's foreign minister travelling to the US to meet international humanitarian bodies as well as pressure from the US Secretary-General. The UN agency responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has warned of a humanitarian "catastrophe" in Gaza if nothing is done by the international community.