Gazan banks start paying out latest installment of Qatar grants to poor families

Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee says $100 bills will again be handed out to a total of 60,000 recipients in the Strip

Adam Rasgon is a former Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Palestinians receive financial aid as part of $480 million allocated for assistance by Qatar, at a post office in Gaza City on May 19, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Palestinians receive financial aid as part of $480 million allocated for assistance by Qatar, at a post office in Gaza City on May 19, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Postal banks in the Gaza Strip started to distribute the latest installment of small grants of money from Qatar on Sunday morning to impoverished Palestinian families, according to Palestinian news sites.

In the past year, the banks have distributed $100 Qatari grants several times to tens of thousands of needy families in the coastal enclave.

Doha has agreed to provide the grants to poor families in Gaza as a part of recent ceasefire understandings between Israel and terror groups in the Strip.

Photos posted on Safa, a Gaza-based news outlet, showed lines of Palestinians at the banks, waiting to receive their payouts.

Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee said on Saturday that 60,000 needy families would receive the payouts, in the form of a $100 bill.

Ahead of a previous round of distribution in June, Mohammed al-Emadi, the head of the Reconstruction Committee, said that 100,000 needy families would receive payouts, but he subsequently announced the number was lowered to 60,000. At the time, a spokesman for the Gaza Reconstruction Committee did not respond to requests for comment about why 40,000 families were removed from the list of grant recipients.

The Hamas-run Communications Ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that postal banks would distribute the small Qatari grants to impoverished families on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The ministry also posted a link on its website where Palestinian families can check whether they were selected to receive a $100 bill.

Emadi was not present in Gaza on Sunday. He has been in the coastal enclave during many of the days in the past when banks handed out the small grants to poor families.

At the conclusion of a trip to Gaza in May, Emadi told journalists in Gaza City that Doha would continue to provide “monetary support to the poor and modest families for a period of six months,” noting that it would come from the $180 million the Gulf state had pledged the previous week to send to the Strip.

His statement at the time came after Qatar announced on May 6 that it would send $480 million to the West Bank and Gaza to “aid the brotherly Palestinian people in obtaining its basic needs.” PA officials later said that Doha would deliver $300 million, primarily in loans, to Ramallah’s accounts and $180 million to Gaza.

Fifty-three percent of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty, a June 2018 United Nations report said. Eighty percent depend on international aid, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency, the main international organization that provides health, education and other services to Palestinian refugees.

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