Qatar has today denied that Israel is preventing it from delivering financial aid to the Gaza Strip, rebuffing claims made in recent days.
The Qatari $50 million cash payment is expected to arrive in Gaza this week or next week, with coordination from Israel, according to Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi, chairman of the Gaza Reconstruction Committee.
The Qatari envoy confirmed that the delay in funds was a consequence of measures taken to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and refuted claims that Israel has tried to delay or block the transfer.
As part of an apparent deal to halt escalating tensions in recent days, Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip reportedly decided to stop launching incendiary balloons toward Israel following contacts led by the Qatari and United Nations envoys.
Last week, a Gaza-based group called Descendants of Nasser Salah al-Din announced it would resume firing incendiary balloons toward Israel to protest alleged “Israeli violations against al-Aqsa Mosque and Israel’s intention to annex parts of the West Bank.”
On Sunday, a cluster of balloons carrying a suspected explosive device that was apparently launched from the Gaza Strip landed outside the southern Israeli community of Tidhar, local officials said. It was the first such balloon-based cross-border attack in several months, though a small number of balloons without suspected explosives attached to them have been flown over the border during that time.
Last month, the Palestinian Authority refused to accept tonnes of Coronavirus-related medical supplies from the UAE intended for Gaza and the West Bank, since it had been coordinated with Israel rather than with them.
The UAE’s transfer of aid saw the first ever known commercial flight between the United Arab Emirates and Israel. Israel and the UAE do not have official diplomatic ties but relations have been warming in recent years over a shared interest in the threat posed by Iran.