Senior Hamas terror group official Moussa Abu Marzouk announced on Tuesday that Qatar will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip for another year.
“The Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, informed us of the renewal of the Qatari grant for a full year, rather than another six months,” Abu Marzouk said in a statement put out by Hamas media.
Qatari aid had previously been set to expire in March, although Qatari authorities had indicated that they would extend the aid package.
Abu Marzouk said that Qatar would be providing $30 million as part of its monthly stipend for poor families in the Gaza Strip. In 2019, $150 million in Qatari fuel subsidies alone were dispensed in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from chronic power shortages.
With Israel’s approval, Qatar since 2018 has periodically provided millions of dollars in cash to Gaza’s Hamas rulers to pay for fuel for the Strip’s power plant, allow the group to pay its civil servants and provide aid to tens of thousands of impoverished families.
Hamas, a terror organization that avowedly seeks to destroy Israel, has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, when it wrested control of the enclave from its rival Fatah after a bloody series of clashes. Since Hamas’s takeover, Israel and Egypt have imposed a strict blockade on Gaza, which has had a devastating impact on the Strip’s economy.
Israel says that blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from massively arming itself with deadly weaponry.
Demands for Qatar to renew its aid have reportedly been at the root of several rounds of escalation between Israel and Hamas, with Hamas hoping that Israel will pressure Doha into increasing the sum it sends to the coastal enclave.
While Israel does not have official relations with Qatar, which allegedly also enjoys close ties to Iran and Hezbollah, Israeli officials quietly support the continuation of Qatari aid to the Gaza Strip as a means of relieving the enclave’s humanitarian crisis.
According to Abu Marzouk, Qatari envoy Mohammad al-Emadi will arrive in the Strip at the end of the month as part of the aid’s renewal.
Al-Emadi, who maintains contacts with Hamas, the PA, and Israel, has visited Gaza several times to meet with key Hamas officials. Al-Emadi has often served as a mediator between Hamas and Israel during moments of heightened tensions between the two sides.
Qatar has hosted numerous Hamas officials in its capital, Doha, including Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh and former chief Khaled Mashaal.
Haniyeh met with Islamic Jihad chief Ziyad al-Nakhaleh on Sunday night in Doha to “discuss renewing Palestinian unity,” the groups said in a joint statement.
“The two sides agreed on the necessity of restoring Palestinian unity so as to achieve a national unified strategy based on total resistance,” the terror groups said, thanking their Qatari hosts for facilitating the meeting.