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Israel approves more Qatari funds for Gaza to contain escalation


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Qatar has agreed to provide more funds to the Gaza Strip after meeting with Israeli officials.

Israeli military liaison with the Palestinian territories Major-General Kamil Abu Rokon met on February 25 in Jerusalem with the Ambassador of Qatar to the Palestinian Territories Mohammed al-Emadi and the UN Envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov to discuss the latest climbing round between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Israel Kan Canal reported the February 26 meeting, days after cross-border violence erupted on February 23 when the Israeli military killed a Palestinian man in the town of Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza. A precarious calm reigned after midnight on the next day.

Israel Walla News website reported on February 22 that Mossad director Yossi Cohen and Herzi Halevi, head of the Southern Israeli Command, had met with senior Qatari officials earlier this month to reach an agreement with Hamas.

The day before, Emadi had meet Yahya al-Sinwar, head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, to discuss ways to improve the deplorable living conditions in the besieged enclave. The two men also discussed more facilities and a gas line for the power plant of the enclave.

According to a Hamas statement, Qatari officials have agreed to pay $ 12 million to 120,000 vulnerable families and have allocated $ 2 million to help 500 young men get married. Qatar has also agreed to pay an additional $ 2 million to restore the homes of poor families, in addition to $ 1 million for university students to pay school fees and obtain diplomas.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem confirmed to Al-Monitor that the recent Qatari grant is designed to help alleviate the suffering of Palestinians in the face of the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip. "These measures have been agreed with Israel through mediators in what is known as understanding truce", He noted, expressing Hamas' appreciation for its support.

When asked if Hamas had asked for the new grant, he said, "Hamas is making every effort to provide more support for our people in Gaza."

He said Qatar has confirmed its continued support for the Gaza Strip through various projects. “Helping young Gazans get married or obtain university degrees widens the range of categories benefiting from this scholarship. The grant targets different vulnerable sectors of Gaza, especially those that have been exhausted by the Israeli siege and punishments of the Palestinian Authority. "

Qassem added: "We believe that the subsidy is one of the many measures to (alleviate) the blockade. We want the siege of the Gaza Strip to be lifted completely and to guarantee the freedom of movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip. "

When asked how long Hamas would remain dependent on Qatari money to improve the situation in Gaza, Qassem said the Qatari grant was offered to the Palestinian people in Gaza and not to Hamas. “The grant is an agreement between the mediators and Israel. Mediators are needed to ensure the continuity of Qatari aid, regardless of the nature of the next Israeli government. Hamas does not care about the form of this government; he is only concerned with the lifting of the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. "

Tayseer Mohsen, professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza, told Al-Monitor that Israel had not implemented the truce agreements because Netanyahu feared that be criticized by rival parties in the run-up to the elections. Mohsen said, "Netanyahu wants to neutralize Gaza by meeting the demands of life in the Gaza Strip and gradually lifting the blockade to reach a long-term truce agreement. Meanwhile, (Blue and Whit leader Benny) Gantz wants to reach this agreement after a heavy military strike on Gaza. "

Mohsen said the meeting of the director of Mossad with Qatari officials followed Israel's inability to control the incendiary balloons and shells fired from Gaza. “A quick agreement with Hamas via Qatari mediators was imperative. Hamas has already expressed demands for more Qatari aid, and the response was the result of Emadi's last meeting with Sinwar. "

He said the deal that Qatar intended to enter into with Hamas was mainly economic. "However, there are indications of a possible political-economic agreement consisting of a long-term truce agreement between Israel and the Gaza Strip," he said. "This is all the more true if reconciliation (with Fatah) remains stalled, because Hamas cannot stop making efforts to revive Gaza."

Israeli affairs expert Muhammad Khalil Musleh told Al-Monitor that the Qatari-Israeli meeting "and that the alleviation of the crisis in the Hamas movement is linked to the interests of Israel."

He added: "This is also linked to the US peace plan in the Middle East to establish a mini-state in Gaza. There is a tendency in Israel for a long-term calm deal with Hamas. The neutralization of the Gaza Strip would allow Israel to focus on controlling the West Bank. "

Commenting on the role of Egypt and Qatar in relation to the truce agreements, he said that the wishes of Israel and the United States may have contributed to the freezing of all kinds of conflicts between Qatar and One hand and the quartet of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates. , Egypt and Bahrain on the other. "The interests of Egypt conflict with the interference of Qatar in the Palestinian case. Although Qatar's intervention seems purely financial, there are political assets that Qatar is playing under the table. "

Mohsen said he thought Egypt did not want another country to get involved in the Palestinian situation, but as it cannot pay financial aid for Gaza , she accepted the role of Qatar. But there is no coordination between them.

Mohsen added: "Israel would reap the rewards of all calm with the Gaza Strip."

Gaza-based writer and political analyst Hani Habib told Al-Monitor that Israel's meeting with Qatar early last month is closely linked to the resumption of return marches along the border planned for the end of March and aims to tame a potential escalation of violence.

"The objective of renewing the grant and caring for young people is to help Hamas stabilize its authority in the Gaza Strip," said Habib.

More than ever, Qatar's efforts are aimed at improving the situation in the Gaza Strip and keeping it away from events in the region. He added that Qatar's participation in the Palestinian question, particularly in Gaza, places him at the forefront of efforts to normalize relations with Israel in the region. Qatar has become an important political coordinator with Israel, thanks to Emadi's meetings with the Israelis.

Musleh said he believed Qatari support for Hamas would continue, as long as there was Israeli approval, in an effort to restore calm. He stressed that Hamas is using the funds to alleviate the difficult economic conditions of the coastal enclave. Hamas also uses Gaza as an asset for negotiation and political survival.

“Hamas seeks to develop its international relations with the whole world. Its success depends on its political project, provided it is approved by Israel, "said Musleh.

Meanwhile, although violence between Israel and Hamas continues to soar, Qatar's money is seen to play a role in preventing it from getting out of hand. "Qatari funds will continue to flow to Gaza as long as there are clashes," said Mohsen.

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mossad, hamas-egypt relations, israeli-Palestinian conflict, qatar blockade, qatari foreign policy, qatar-egypt relations, hamas, qatari isolation

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