A $15 million Qatari cash infusion was paid out to impoverished Palestinian civil servants in the Gaza Strip Friday.
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With the U.S. cutting aid to Gaza in Aug, and the West Bank government slashing Gaza budgets, poverty has been affecting tens of thousands of government employees. This has come amid protests known as the March of Return that happens every Friday along the border with Israel. Occasional shelling exchanges have taken place across the border of Gaza, which Israel keeps under blockade.
Palestinian sources said the Qatari payout, received Thursday, was the first of a total of $90 million that would come into Gaza over the next six months.
The gas-rich Gulf Arab state has agreed to donating materials for civilian construction projects or fuel.
“One day, I have no money to get food or medicine for my children - and now I will buy them food, medicine and clothes,” said Wael Abu Assi, a traffic policeman, outside a Gaza City post office where people queued to draw their salaries.
Branded a terrorist group in the West, Hamas has been under years of embargo by Israel and neighboring Egypt. Hamas leaders said in the past they had received funds from other countries including Iran.
Observers for Qatar were present at all 12 post offices across Gaza to monitor the salary disbursements. Employees had to present their identity card and be fingerprinted.
Doha’s donations, as well as U.N.-Egyptian truce mediation and winter rains, have tamped down the violence at the border, where Gaza medics say Israeli army fire has killed more than 220 Palestinians since the protests began on Mar. 30 to demand rights to lands lost to Israel in the 1948 war of its creation.