GAZA CITY: Qatar said on Saturday it will no longer fund salaries of Hamas employees in Gaza but will still give aid to poor families, after the Palestinian enclave’s Islamist rulers refused to accept wage payments over conditions allegedly attached by Israel. We “will not pay the salaries of the Hamas employees”, said Qatar’s ambassador to the Gaza Strip Mohammed al-Emadi.
An informal deal between Israel and Hamas in November had seen Qatar agree to send $90 million through six monthly payments to Gaza, in exchange for relative calm along the Israeli border, which has been rocked by Hamas-backed protests since March 2018.
The first two monthly payments of $15 million were disbursed and went mainly to paying salaries of around 40,000 Hamas civil servants, while around a third of each monthly payment helped impoverished Gazans. But the deal became a major bone of political contention in Israel — whose territory is used for delivery of the cash — and also in Gaza. “The tension was very high on Hamas ... internally and on the Israeli government the tension also was very high from the opposition,” said Emadi.
Impoverished Gazans will still receive funds. On Saturday 94,000 families in the Gaza Strip started receiving new $100 payments from Qatar.
Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2019