UN To Distribute Cash Aid To Gaza Families, Envoy Says
Qatar has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza since Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014. But another round of fighting in May with Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules Gaza, prompted Israeli and United States demands to revise the payouts to ensure they did not reach Hamas. They have since been on hold.
Nearly 100,000 beneficiaries will begin to receive the cash aid on Monday, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
Officials did not say if or how the distribution points were being monitored to ensure the cash bypasses Hamas.
Qatar was also due to provide aid to civil servants in Hamas-run ministries under an agreement with banks under the jurisdiction of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA).
But the PA withdrew from that arrangement on Friday over concerns its involvement would expose it to legal issues. Hamas is deemed a “terrorist group” by several Western countries.
However, according to Bennett, the payments would be made in vouchers, not in cash as the UN official said.
“The grant is being transferred in vouchers and not in suitcases of cash as has happened in the past,” Bennett’s office said in a statement.
When asked about the discrepancy, Bennett’s office declined to comment.
Officials were still working to find a mechanism that would distribute cash to civil servants without funding Hamas military activities, Bennett’s office added.
Israel and Egypt hold Gaza under a blockade, citing threats from Hamas. The World Bank has said that the restrictions have contributed to soaring poverty in the enclave, home to two million Palestinians.