Qatar resumes aid to thousands of Gaza families

Qatar, a Gulf state, has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza since 2014. The UN says the new funding amounts to 40 million dollars.

Qatar has resumed its distribution of aid to the besieged Gaza Strip for the first time since an escalation of violence in May between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that rules the territory.

The official Hamas government news agency said the money is being disbursed through supermarkets, exchange houses and other retail stores in a process that will continue over the next few days. The office of Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammed el-Amadi, confirmed on Wednesday that payments had been restarted. The UN has said the funding amounts to $ 40 million.

Al Jazeera’s Youmna al-Sayed, reporting from Gaza, said the aid will be delivered in amounts of 320 shekels (about $ 100) and “not in dollars as it used to be.”

Qatar has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza since Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip in 2014.

Before the most recent escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas, Qatari diplomats handed over millions of dollars in cash carrying suitcases through the Beit Hanoun border crossing, also called Erez for Israel, which controls the crossing. The policy has sparked controversy within Israel, with critics seizing the optic and accusing the government of giving in to pressure from Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to end such deliveries since he became prime minister in June.

Qatari aid previously went to a few thousand poor families and to pay the salaries of Gaza government officials. Aid to families has resumed, but there is still no agreement on aid for the Hamas government’s payroll.

Following the resumption of fighting between Israel and Hamas in May, the United States pledged to work with the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority to rebuild Gaza. But the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, withdrew from the aid deal.

As a result, the UN announced on Monday that Qatari funds would be distributed through the same mechanism used by its agencies in the territory.

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