Qatar, bypassing Hamas, distributes grant money to needy Gazan families


(JTA) — Qatar distributed $100 grants to some 94,000 needy families in Gaza.

The money went to poor families instead of to Gaza civil servants after the Hamas leaders of the Gaza Strip said it would not accept the third installment of $15 million in aid from Qatar.

Some reports said that about 50,000 families would receive up to $400 in assistance over four payments.

The transfer of the money had been held up by Israel for nearly three weeks, over continued unrest on the border between Israel and Gaza.

On Thursday, Israel’s Security Cabinet finally approved the transfer, at the urging of officials from Israel’s top security agencies and informed Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Amadi. But moments after the approval, senior Hamas official in Gaza, Khalil al-Haya, said that Hamas would not accept the money, citing Israel’s “hesitation and blackmailing.”

Al-Amadi then decided to distribute the money directly to Gaza families. They were distributed on Saturday and Sunday, the AFP news agency reported. The rest of the funds will be used for humanitarian projects in coordination with the United Nations.

At least two-thirds of the previous two installments of $15 million in aid were used to pay the salaries of Hamas civil servants, with about $5 million for impoverished Gazans.

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