Qatar pledges to send $480 million in aid to West Bank and Gaza
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Qatar pledges to send $480 million in aid to West Bank and Gaza

Palestinian Authority to receive $300 million for health and education initiatives, remainder to finance humanitarian and UN programs

A Hamas-appointed government employee in Gaza signs a document to receive 50 percent of her long-overdue salary from funds donated by Qatar, while others wait in the queue, at the main Gaza Post Office, in Gaza City, December 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A Hamas-appointed government employee in Gaza signs a document to receive 50 percent of her long-overdue salary from funds donated by Qatar, while others wait in the queue, at the main Gaza Post Office, in Gaza City, December 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Qatar pledged to send $480 million in aid to Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, Qatar’s foreign ministry said overnight Monday.

The Palestinian Authority would receive $300 million for health and education and $180 million would finance humanitarian initiatives, electricity and United Nations programs, Reuters reported.

The announcement comes after two days of intense fighting between Israel and Gaza-based terrorists that saw nearly 700 rockets fired at Israel and four Israeli civilians killed.

In response to the onslaught, the Israel Defense Forces conducted over 300 strikes from the air and land, including a rare assassination of a terrorist operative whom the IDF said funneled money from Iran to terror groups in the Strip.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry said 29 Palestinians were killed by Israeli strikes, including two pregnant women and a baby. Israel said one of the women and the baby were killed in a failed rocket launch inside Gaza and not as a result of IDF actions.

Security forces loyal to Hamas organize a line outside the central post office in Gaza City on January 26, 2019, as Palestinians gather to receive financial aid from Qatar. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

The fighting was some of the heaviest seen since 2014’s 50-day war with Gaza, but tapered off late Sunday and early Monday, as Palestinian factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad said a ceasefire had been reached.

Six months ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to allow the monthly transfer of $15 million in cash from Qatar to the cash-strapped Strip.

This week’s exchange of fire followed several weeks of relative calm between Israel and Gaza amid an unofficial armistice, which appeared to be breaking down as terrorists in the Strip stepped up their violent activities along the border in the days preceding the outbreak of fighting. Gaza terror groups said their actions were retaliation for Israel not abiding by the ceasefire agreement by halting the transfer of Qatari money into Gaza — a charge Jerusalem denied, blaming the delay on Qatar and the United Nations.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much of the $480 million announced on Monday would go to Gaza, or how the transfer would be carried out.

Gaza suffers from abject poverty and unemployment in the coastal enclave stands at 51 percent. Israeli and American officials accuse Hamas, a jihadist terrorist group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction, of pouring its funding into military infrastructure rather than improving the overall situation in Gaza.

The Israeli military on Monday warned that war with Gaza could be back on the horizon in days or weeks if the government did not work to ease the living conditions in the beleaguered enclave.

Qatar’s announcement of the fund transfer to the Palestinians came on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

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