Qatar gains from the latest Gaza escalation

Analysis: Gulf state received fair amount of backlash for money transfers to Strip, but renewed incendiary balloon attacks from Hamas proxies, triggered by discontinuation of Qatari aid, forced former critics to turn to Doha with a new appreciation

Elior Levy|
What did the Qatari envoy to Gaza Mohammad al-Emadi mean when he said that his country's aid to the coastal enclave is facing ongoing challenges?
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  • About two months ago, Ynet reported that the Qatari leadership was dissatisfied with the thankless reaction of of the international community to its efforts in the Gaza Strip.
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    פגישה של איסמאעיל הנייה  עם מוחמד אל עמאדי וחליל אל-חיה ורוחי מושתהא
    פגישה של איסמאעיל הנייה  עם מוחמד אל עמאדי וחליל אל-חיה ורוחי מושתהא
    Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi meets with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza
    (Photo: Archive)
    The international criticism claims that hundreds of millions of dollars sent by Qatar to aid needy families in Gaza was actually being used to fund terrorism in the Strip.
    Similarly, some extremist factions within the Strip have mocked the aid, saying that Qatar is effectively buying Hamas' silence.
    Doha naturally did not like these accusations. The Qataris went to great lengths to safeguard their aid mechanism, utilizing organized lists of names approved by the Israeli defense establishment.
    In addition, they emphasized that all the aid money is delivered to Gazan families via the Strip's postal service, a civilian institution, and that Hamas had no way of interfering with the transfers.
    While Doha's indignation over this criticism slowed the transfer of the pledged funds, the aid money was eventually transferred as promised. Until September.
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    חלוקת המענק הקאטרי החודשי
    חלוקת המענק הקאטרי החודשי
    Palestinians receiving Qatar aid money at a post office in Gaza
    Palestinian sources told Ynet this week that due to the criticism, Qatar has decided to refrain from announcing a continuation of its aid program to the Gaza Strip.
    The sources said that Qatar expected its silence on the extension of the aid to provoke a Hamas reaction, which would immediately lead the UN, Egypt, Israel and others in the international community to move to persuade Doha to continue transferring the money.
    Qatar's forecast was right. A month before the end of the current program, Hamas began to escalate tensions, using proxy organizations to carry out attacks against Israel in the form of incendiary and explosive balloon clusters.
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    בלוני תבערה בקיבוץ בארי
    בלוני תבערה בקיבוץ בארי
    IDF soldiers putting out a fire started by a balloon cluster sent from the Gaza Strip
    (Photo: Barel Efraim)
    In the wake of the Hamas attacks, the international community - including Israel - asked Doha to continue transferring the aid money to the Strip, in order to stop the escalation and calm the situation in Gaza.
    According to various reports, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen also spoke this week with senior officials in Doha, to ensure the continuation of the Qatari funds.
    In the end, Qatar got what it wanted - the appreciation of the international community.
    In a speech Tuesday, al-Emadi said that "Qatar will continue to support the Palestinian people so that it can emerge from the crisis."
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    שריפה מבלון תבערה במתחם שיחזור הקרב מ-1948 בקיבוץ יד מרדכי
    שריפה מבלון תבערה במתחם שיחזור הקרב מ-1948 בקיבוץ יד מרדכי
    Israelis extinguishing a fire started by a incendiary balloon cluster sent from the Gaza Strip
    ( Photo: Courtesy)
    The crisis in Gaza is still ongoing, but according to al-Emadi, Qatar's aid program will most likely be extended very soon for a period of 6-12 months.
    After that, another solution will have to be found to satisfy Hamas and keep the peace along the Gaza border.
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