Qatari envoy said set to visit Gaza to discuss grants, reconstruction

Mohammed al-Emadi reportedly scheduled for multi-day visit as border tensions spike following violent confrontations between IDF and armed Palestinians

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

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

Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi is reportedly set to arrive in Gaza on Thursday to discuss projects funded by the Gulf emirate in the Strip.

Emadi’s expected arrival comes as tensions have spiked on Gaza’s border following several violent confrontations between Israeli soldiers and armed Palestinians.

The Gulf diplomat’s visit, which will last for a number of days, will “follow up on the Qatari Gaza Reconstruction Committee’s work and projects in the Gaza Strip as well as follow up on the payment of Qatari grants to poor families” in the coastal enclave, according to a Monday report from the Gaza-based news site Sawa.

The news outlet, which often reports on Emadi’s travel to the Strip, attributed the information to a “well-placed” source.

A spokesperson for the Qatar’s Gaza Reconstruction Committee did not respond to several phone calls seeking comment.

Doha has recently provided funds to a number of infrastructure projects in Gaza, a United Nations-supervised temporary employment program, fuel for the coastal enclave’s sole power plant and small grants for impoverished Palestinian families.

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 Qatari diplomat last visited Gaza in June when he oversaw the distribution of $100 grants to tens of thousands of families there.

Qatar announced on May 6 that it would send $480 million to the West Bank and Gaza to “aid the brotherly Palestinian people in obtaining its basic needs.” PA officials later said that Doha would deliver $300 million, primarily in loans, to Ramallah’s accounts and $180 million to Gaza.

Gaza-based Palestinian officials have said that Doha agreed to provide the $180 million to the coastal enclave as a part of recent ceasefire understandings between Israel and terror groups in the Strip.

Fifty-three percent of Palestinians in Gaza live in poverty, according to a June 2018 United Nations report.

Over the weekend, four rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza, the first such volley in several weeks.

On Saturday night, several armed Palestinians were spotted by the security fence between Gaza and Israel, the army said. An attack helicopter and a tank opened fire on the suspects, according to the military. Three were killed and a fourth was injured, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said.

The Hamas terror group, which seized control of Gaza in 2007, said the Palestinians who were near the fence were “rebellious youth,” in an apparent effort to distance themselves from the incident.

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