Qatar paid $1.1 billion to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip between 2012 and 2018.
The data was raised before the Israeli security cabinet this weekend, noting that in 2018 alone Qatar paid “$200 million for humanitarian aid, fuel and government salaries, and pledged to provide hundreds of millions of dollars more through United Nations aid groups,” Haaretz reported yesterday.
According to the Israeli daily, “about 44 per cent of the money provided by Qatar during this period was invested in infrastructure, about 40 per cent was used for education and healthcare, while the rest went to support Hamas and other groups in the Gaza Strip,” referring to the salaries of public servants in the besieged Gaza Strip.
Haaretz also reported that Qatar “gave $50 million to UNRWA, the United Nations relief agency for Palestinian refugees, with Israel’s approval,” noting that UNRWA “was on the verge of closing down many of its programs after the United States decided to stop funding the organization”.
The Israeli newspaper added: “In January, Qatar signed an agreement in which it would contribute $500 million to various UN agencies, and most of the money is expected to go to enabling UNRWA to continue operating in Gaza. This money will help to fund 180,000 Gazans and reduce unemployment.”
Qatar stepped in after many in the international community did not fulfil their pledges to rebuild the Gaza Strip after it was hit by Israel in three major offensives; the 2008, 2012 and 2014 wars. These wars turned the coastal enclave – which has been under strict Israeli siege for 12 years – into a pile of rubble.
At the same time, the Palestinian Authority (PA) – led by Mahmoud Abbas – has imposed punitive measures on the Strip as part of the ongoing feud between his Fatah party and Hamas. This has paralysed Gaza’s economy and diminished its ability to offer the needed medical and welfare services to its inhabitants.