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Qatar, UN reach agreement to return some Qatari subsidies to Gaza

Qatar and the United Nations have reached an agreement to return some Qatari subsidies to the Gaza Strip, marking significant progress in the ongoing talks to strengthen the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Qatar and the UN will channel monthly $100 salaries for 100,000 impoverished Gazan families through a UN-backed mechanism, Qatari envoy to Gaza Mohammad al-Emadi says in a statement.

According to al-Emadi, the money will be distributed beginning in September.

Qatar’s point man for the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, attends a press conference at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on February 19, 2018. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

The Qatari subisidies have emerged as one of the major stumbling blocks in the talks to strengthen the fragile ceasefire.

Since 2018, Qatar has sent hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to Gaza. Some went to fuel subsidies, others went to cash payments for Hamas employees. Israel allowed the money into the tightly blockaded enclave in an attempt to soothe tensions on its southern border.

But following the May battle between Israel and Hamas, Israeli officials have vowed not to return to the status quo ante, which they view as too favorable to Hamas.

The Palestinian Authority had hoped to sign a separate agreement between Ramallah and Doha to transfer the funds. But the deal, backed by PA minister Ahmad Majdalani, fell through after Palestinian banks registered opposition.

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