The deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haniyeh took part in a ceremony Saturday to dedicate a new Qatari-funded housing project in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.
Haniyeh announced at the ceremony that the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, will deliver an additional $100 million for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, the Ynet news site reported. Of those funds, Haniyeh added, $25 million will be allocated for a hospital in Rafah, and another $10 million will be designated for a center to treat people with special needs in Gaza City.
The Hamas official further stated that Qatar had vowed to transfer $30 million to erect new electricity lines, and another $12 million for fuel to be used in Gaza’s power plants.
Gaza recently experienced the worst electricity shortage in years, with power supplied to households only three to four hours a day.
In recent months, Gaza residents have staged spontaneous demonstrations against the power cuts, including one in January that saw thousands of Palestinians taking to the streets of Jabaliya, in the northern Strip. Hamas cracked down the protesters, arresting several and targeting journalists covering the demonstrations.
The two million residents of Gaza require around 450-500 megawatts of power per day, but are receiving less than half of that. With cold winters, demand has spiked — leading to the shortages.
Islamist terror group Hamas seized control of Gaza from Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, in a bloody battle in 2007. The violent takeover triggered a border blockade by Israel and Egypt that, among other things, sharply aggravated power shortages.
The two factions have been unable to form a unity government and have been in an extended dispute over tax bills on fuel imports.
This story was updated to clarify the date of the Gaza protest.
AP and AFP contributed to this report.