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Qatar pushing Hamas to accept Israel's aid delivery conditions, report claims

Chairman of the National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, Ambassador Mohammed Al-Emadi in Gaza on 25 January 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Al-Emadi in Gaza on 25 January 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

An Israeli media outlet claimed that Qatar has put pressure on the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, to accept the occupation's conditions to transfer Qatari aid to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Israel's Kan radio reported yesterday that Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi asked Hamas officials to accept the Israeli demands as soon as possible to transfer about $30 million to Gaza in the form of vouchers issued to families in need.

Kan said the Israeli officials want to complete the delivery of aid before the Eid Al-Adha holiday, which begins on Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett wants a shift in policy, Internal Security Minister Omer Barlev said earlier this week.

"The Qatari money for Gaza will not go in as suitcases full of dollars which end up with Hamas, where Hamas in essence takes for itself and its officials a significant part of it," he told Israel's Army Radio.

He said Bennett plans "a mechanism where what will go in, in essence, would be food vouchers, or vouchers for humanitarian aid, and not cash that can be taken and used for developing weaponry to be wielded against the State of Israel."

READ: Hamas: Ready for national unity to serve Palestine cause

The Qatari grant money used to reach the poor in Gaza in the form of cash payments of $100 per month.

There was no immediate comment from Qatar or Hamas on the radio report.

In January, the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, issued instructions to allocate a financial grant of $360 million to support Gaza, to be disbursed over the course of 2021.

According to the World Bank, Gaza's unemployment rate is roughly 50 per cent and more than half of its population living in poverty. Following Israel's attack on the Strip in May, 62 per cent of Gaza's population were food insecure.

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