Qatar pledges $150 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza
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Qatar pledges $150 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza

Rulers orders transfer of funds ‘to lessen the increasing graveness of the humanitarian tragedy’ in the Strip

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan palace in Kuwait City on December 5, 2017. (Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit at Bayan palace in Kuwait City on December 5, 2017. (Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Qatar has announced a pledge of $150 million in humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip, the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported late Wednesday evening.

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani ordered the Qatar Fund for Development to send the aid to Gaza “to lessen the increasing graveness of the humanitarian tragedy” in the coastal enclave, the QNA report said.

The Qatar Fund for Development is a state-sponsored aid organization that supports development and humanitarian projects in different parts of the world.

Gaza suffers from severely inadequate water, electricity and health infrastructure, widespread poverty and an extremely high unemployment rate, both due to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades — Israel says it is necessary to prevent arms from reaching Hamas terrorists — and due to ongoing conflict between the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, from which Hamas wrested control of the Strip in 2007.

The $150 million will be delivered to Gaza through the United Nations Development Program and other UN parties, the QNA report added, without elaborating on which sectors in Gaza the funds are slated to support.

A Palestinian girl fills a jerrycan with water during a heatwave at al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on July 2, 2017. (AFP Photo/Mahmud Hams)

A UNDP spokesperson in Jerusalem and the Qatar Fund for Development did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the aid Qatar plans to send to Gaza.

On Tuesday, two trucks of Qatari-bought fuel entered Gaza to mitigate a major power shortage in the Strip. Palestinians in the Strip without backup generators face long blackouts on a daily basis.

Dozens of additional trucks of Qatari-purchased fuel are expected to enter Gaza in the coming months, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York City on Tuesday.

The QNA report did not clarify if the Qatari-sponsored fuel was a part of $150 million the Qatar Fund for Development pledged to send to Gaza or in addition to it.

In the past several years, Qatar has sent hundreds of millions of dollars to the coastal enclave for humanitarian aid, development and other projects.

In September, Gaza marked the opening of a Qatari-funded court complex which costed $11 million.

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