New act of pacification in Gaza: Hamas distributes Qatari dollars

A man shows a bundle of banknotes received on November 9, 2018 from a post office in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, where many Palestinians have received wage arrears or help / AFP

Long lines of Palestinians were formed in Gaza on Friday to collect wage arrears or aid financed by Hamas from Qatar, in a new attempt to dispel the tensions within and around the blocked territory.

In another sign of at least temporary easing, the enclave, theater for months of demonstrations and clashes with the Israeli army along the barrier that separates Israel from the Gaza Strip, has experienced a second consecutive Friday of contained mobilization.

One Palestinian was killed and another 37 injured by Israeli gunshots, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. But Gaza has had many more bloody friday since March 30th.

Hundreds of Palestinians gathered in various places, but for the majority at a relative distance from the barrier guarded by Israeli snipers, and the clashes were limited, said journalists and witnesses of the AFP.

Palestinians flee to escape tear gas during clashes with the Israeli army in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 9, 2018 / AFP

Strangely, a Qatari diplomatic convoy approaching demonstrators east of Gaza City was stoned and quickly withdrew, as it was from this Gulf monarchy that a new sign of potential relaxation came. at the start of the day.

Dozens of Palestinians have rushed in the morning in front of the post office desks, exceptionally open on Friday and Saturday, and then show several hundred dollars.

"I came for $ 400 for my July salary," said Fadi Abu Safia, a 35-year-old official.

Mohamed Abed al-Hadi, 27, collected 700 shekels (US $ 190) for Palestinians injured in the violence of recent months, "a good sum given the conditions in which we live".

– Money suitcases –

In total, this is $ 90 million of Qatar that must be distributed in six monthly installments of 15 million, according to Hamas, mainly to pay at least part of the Islamist movement's officials in power in the enclave.

For months, tens of thousands of civil servants have been paid only sporadically, adding to the tensions in the Palestinian enclave, which has been hit by wars, Israeli and Egyptian blockades, poverty and shortages.

On Thursday evening, the Israeli state, which controls all access to territory outside the Egyptian border, left Qatar's ambassador in Gaza, Mohammed al-Emadi, to cross the Erez crossing between Israel and Israel. the enclave with suitcases full of dollars, declared on condition of anonymity a source inside Hamas and a Palestinian source at the border.

No confirmation was obtained from Israel.

Qatar, which does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, has long supported Hamas, considered "terrorist" by the Jewish state, and deemed undisputed by the international community.

The Palestinians will line up on November 9, 2018 at the Rafah post office in the southern part of the Gaza Strip for pay or help / AFP

The operation is not validated by the UN, but is more in line with the efforts deployed, in particular by the Egyptian neighbor and the UN, for a lasting truce between Israel and Hamas, after months of violence.

At least 221 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunshots since March 30th. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Israel calls for a return to calm, Hamas a lightening of the vigorous block imposed for more than ten years by the Jewish state.

An improvement in living conditions, in particular the payment of civil servants, is considered an important relaxation factor.

– "Gangsterismo" –

One in two inhabitants of Gaza lives below the poverty line and the Gaza economy is in "free fall", according to the World Bank.

Qatar plays a pre-eminent role in the relaxation effort. Under the auspices of the UN, it has agreed to finance for six months, for $ 60 million, fuel oil for the only power plant in the area. Deliveries started in October, with Israeli approval, have begun to partially reduce the chronic lack of energy.

Qatar also decided this week to provide $ 5 million in aid to 50,000 poor families in Gaza.

The appeasement is getting hurt on both sides, especially on the side of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

Expelled from Gaza by Hamas in 2007 as a historically recognized interlocutor of the international community, the Authority considers itself to be short-circuited and fears recognition of the fact and sustainability of Hamas control over Gaza.

Palestinian women stand in line on November 9th 2018 in Rafah's post office in the southern part of the Gaza Strip for pay or help / AFP

What Qatar's ambassador did is similar to "gangster activity," said Abbas's close associate, Ahmed Majdalani, at the AFP.

On the Israeli side, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has already stated that he does not believe that an agreement with Hamas is possible. On Thursday, in a meeting with the assistants, he denounced the Israeli green light to the transit of Qatar funds as "a capitulation to terrorism", reported the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.



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