Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash 90
This Gaza Arab received his $100 in aid from Qatar at a post office in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, December 26, 2019.

The Palestinian Authority has rejected a proposal for the transfer of financial aid to poverty-stricken families in the Gaza Strip, according to the Qatar-linked Arabi 21 news site.

Under the plan, Qatari cash subsidies would be deposited by the United Nations in a bank in Ramallah, which would then transfer the funds to a bank in Gaza.

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However, “Palestinian sources” told Arabi21 the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah rejected the formula reached with Israel by Egyptian mediators.

The sources, reportedly familiar with the indirect talks in Cairo said the meeting that took place with the Qatari ambassador, Mohammed Al-Emadi, confirmed, “A new mechanism was presented, according to which the Qatari grant funds will be transferred through the United Nations to be distributed to poor families in the Gaza Strip.”

The source said in an exclusive statement to the news site that Israel, “through the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, agreed to this mechanism, and the United Nations expressed its willingness to implement it; there is approval of the same formula from the United States.

“The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah rejected this mechanism, which has hindered the entry of these funds so far,” the source said, adding that “All attempts to persuade the Palestinian Authority’s leadership to deal with the new mechanism have failed so far.

“It is clear that the [Palestinian] Authority is indifferent to the difficult humanitarian conditions that…Gaza is experiencing, especially in light of the Eid al-Adha atmosphere.”

The issue of cash infusions by Qatar into Gaza is one of the major issues on the table in the Egyptian- mediated indirect talks between Israel-Hamas negotiators.

Following the recent 11-day Israel-Hamas miniwar, “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” Israel said it will no longer allow Qatar to hand-deliver suitcases filled with cash to the enclave via the Erez Crossing, nor will it allow the reconstruction of war damage in the enclave unless the ruling Hamas terror organization releases two living Israeli hostages and the bodies of two fallen IDF soldiers, held in captivity by Hamas since 2014.

The Israeli delegation to Cairo has underlined, “Hamas must be well aware that Israel will not release Palestinian prisoners whose hands are stained with blood. …The reconstruction of Gaza will not be possible until a solution is found,” Israel’s Channel 12 News reported earlier this month.

At the same time, Israel’s Kan News public broadcaster likewise reported that the Israeli delegation informed Hamas in the indirect talks that “without resolving the issue of the hostages, there will be no progress towards a long-term calm in Gaza.”

It is not clear why this issue is even being discussed at this point, however. Nor is it known whether or not this new plan to deliver Qatari aid to Gaza comes with a matching agreement by Hamas to release the captives.

If the release of Hamas-held captives was not included in the cash delivery deal, the question is why the current Israeli government backpedaled on promises made to its citizens this past May by the previous government, headed by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The current Israeli government is comprised by a “national unity” coalition that includes the Islamist Ra’am party.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.