Qatari envoy arrives in Gaza to distribute funds
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Qatari envoy arrives in Gaza to distribute funds

Mohammed al-Emadi will oversee payouts to poor families in the coastal enclave, source in Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee says

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)

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi crossed the border into the Gaza Strip early Monday, and is expected hand over money to be distributed to impoverished Palestinian families there, Palestinian media reported.

Emadi crossed into Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing in the north of the Strip shortly after midnight, the reports said. In the past he has brought suitcases of cash with him, but it was not immediately clear if he did so again, or if the money would come through banks this time.

Emadi, who frequently liaises with Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, and Israel about Gaza, has not visited the coastal enclave since early March.

“As of now, we only know that he is planning to oversee the distribution of funds to poor families. We will not know any other details until after he arrives,” an official in Doha’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee told The Times of Israel on Sunday ahead of the visit.

Mohammed al-Emadi (C), chairman of Qatar’s National Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, arrives for a press conference in Gaza City on January 25, 2019. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

The Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Sunday that Emadi would distribute a $30 million Qatari grant to the Hamas terror group. Other than referencing Gaza rulers Hamas, the report did not specify how and to whom the funds would be distributed.

Meanwhile, United Nations Special Coordinator to the Middle East peace process Nickolay Mladenov is planning to travel to Gaza on Monday to visit UN-supervised, Qatari-funded cash-for-work programs and a solar energy-related project at a hospital, a UN source said in a phone call on Sunday.

A number of Palestinians in Gaza recently started temporary jobs as a part of the cash-for-work programs.

Mladenov will be visiting the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis, a city in southern Gaza, where he will deliver a statement to reporters, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Sunday.

Last week, a senior Gaza-based official said that Israel consented to the transfer of Qatari funds into the Strip within a week and said the money would be geared toward grants for impoverished families, salaries of Hamas-appointed civil servants and the UN-supervised projects.

“These are all matters that Israel agreed to two months ago, but evaded implementing,” the official, who is a senior politician, told The Times of Israel at the time, adding that the Jewish state also agreed to the continued entry of Qatari-bought fuel into the Strip.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Israel approved the transfer of funds as a part of a ceasefire agreement with terror groups in Gaza, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

After two days of intense fighting earlier in May, in which terror groups launched over 650 rockets at southern Israel and the Israel Defense Forces carried out more than 300 retaliatory strikes throughout Gaza, Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced that Egypt and other international parties had successfully brokered a truce deal.

Over the past several months, Israel has at times permitted Qatar to distribute funds to poor families as well as Hamas-appointed government employees. It has also allowed for Qatari-purchased fuel to enter Gaza since October 2018 to power the Strip’s sole power plant.

The same Palestinian official, however, said in a phone call on Sunday that he was uncertain whether the funds would be given to the Hamas-appointed government employees, though he confirmed that some money “will go to poor families and cash-for-work projects”

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