Israel Allows Qatar to Renew Aid to Gaza in Bid to Ease Tensions
(Bloomberg) -- Israel has agreed to allow the resumption of Qatari aid to thousands of families in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, in a bid to ease tensions with the Palestinian enclave following their 11-day conflict in May.
Israel blocked the payments after the fighting, demanding that a mechanism be put in place to ensure money doesn’t fall into the hands of Hamas militants. Prior to the conflict, tens of millions of dollars in cash from Qatar were delivered in suitcases, and Hamas has threatened to renew the hostilities if assistance to the impoverished territory isn’t renewed. On Monday, militants launched a rocket into Israel for the first time since the conflict ended.
Under the new arrangement, the United Nations will transfer the Qatari money to the bank accounts of Gaza families, according to a statement late Thursday from Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Israel will have oversight over the recipients list, the statement said.
The Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement that 100,000 families will receive a monthly allowance of $100, beginning in September. More than half of Gaza’s 2 million people live under the poverty line, according to government data.
The arrangement was announced a day after Egypt’s intelligence chief visited Israel to try to shore up the cease-fire that ended the violence in May.
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