Qatar Threatens to Stop Gaza Aid

June 26, 2020
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Last week, Israel allowed the latest installment of US $50 million of Qatari funds into the Gaza Strip (illustrative).

Friday, 26 June 2020 | What happened: According to Israeli media, Qatar has threatened to stop the financial aid it sends to the Gaza Strip if Israel were to apply sovereignty to parts of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria].

  • Qatar’s funds have been a key component of an informal cease-fire arrangement between Israel and Hamas. Last week, Israel allowed the latest installment of [US] $50 million of Qatari funds into the Gaza Strip.
  • According to Ynet, “The transfer reportedly came as part of an apparent de-escalation agreement with the Gaza factions, with the al-Akhbar newspaper reporting that the Hamas incendiary balloon unit agreed to stop their attacks in response.”
  • Yesterday IDF [Israel Defense Forces] Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi warned Israel could soon face renewed violence in the West Bank, which could easily spread to Gaza. During a training exercise he told soldiers that in a few weeks they were liable to find themselves in the West Bank, “because of disturbances and terrorism. You need to be flexible. The upcoming incidents can evolve into warfare in Gaza.”
  • Alternate Prime Minister (APM) and Defense Minister Gantz gave a briefing to security correspondents yesterday. He said, “We’ll adopt the most responsible formula in the spirit of the plan that Trump proposed. What’s good about it, in my view, is that for the first time it takes a realistic look at the reality on the ground. We need to not only manage the conflict, but to shape the directions for the future border arrangements, and above all, to minimize as much as possible the chances of Israel turning into a bi-national state. Whatever we do will have a price. Even if we do nothing, there will be a price.” Adding, “I am willing to establish a dialogue directly and immediately with Palestinian Authority [PA] Chairman Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas], understanding that in the future, two state entities will exist side by side.”
  • On Monday, thousands of Palestinians attended an anti-annexation protest rally in Jericho. The rally was also attended by the UN’s peace envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, the EU’s representative and dozens of diplomats from around the world, including from the UK.

Context: According to a new poll among Palestinians by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR), 88% of Palestinians reject US President Donald Trump’s peace plan.

  • Asked to choose a single strategy in response to the proposed annexation, 31% of Palestinians say that they prefer a return to armed struggle, 23% prefer resumption of negotiations based on a detailed Palestinian counter-proposal, 18% prefer nonviolent resistance, 15% prefer abandoning the Oslo agreement and the severing of relations with Israel, and 6% prefer to abandon the two-state solution in favor of a one-state solution.
  • The poll also found support for the two-state solution rose to 45%, while half of Palestinians opposed the plan. Four months ago, support for a two-state solution stood at 39%, according to a similar poll conducted by PCPSR. Only 37% of those surveyed said they believed that the PA should abandon the push for a two-state solution in response to Israeli annexation of the West Bank.
  • When asked if they supported a return to armed struggle in response to the planned annexation, a slight majority of Palestinians (52%) said they supported it, with 42% in opposition.
  • According to Israel Hayom, “Netanyahu and senior officials in the diplomatic-security establishment believe that annexation will trigger serious reactions at the first stage but that Israel’s rapprochement with Arab states will not sustain long-term damage.”
  • The past few months have been the quietest period in Gaza in recent years. The assessment within the security establishment is that Hamas has chosen to prioritize improving the economy, dealing with coronavirus and at the same time continuing to build up its military capabilities. Renewed violence with Israel would not be conducive to achieving these objectives.

Posted on June 26, 2020

Source: (Excerpt from an article originally published in BICOM on June 24, 2020. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See the original article at this link.)

Photo Credit: Alexander Mils/unsplash.com