Gazans denounce visit by Qatari envoy

Al-Emadi was whisked away in his vehicle under Hamas police escort.

February 20, 2018 13:06
2 minute read.
Qatari Ambassador to Gaza Mohammed al-Emadileaves following a press conference in Gaza

Qatari Ambassador to Gaza Mohammed al-Emadileaves following a press conference at the Dar al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. (photo credit: MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)


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GAZA CITY (Tribune News Service) - Palestinians on Monday protested against Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi during his visit to the Gaza Strip.

The crowd closed in on the Qatari envoy as the envoy concluded a press conference at the Dar Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where he announced that Doha would donate $9 million in aid to address fuel and medicine shortages in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Emadi was whisked away in his vehicle under Hamas police escort. No one was injured during the protests.

Angry crowds heckled the Qatar emissary criticizing his country and its empty promises and expressed disappointment with the envoy because he refused to address their plight during his statements.

Al-Emadi told the striking workers, most of them hospital staff, that the Palestinian Authority was the only party authorized to discuss the issue of their unpaid salaries.

Other Palestinians tore off the aid banners carrying the photo of the amir of Qatar as well as bringing down the Qatari flag.

The Qatari envoy said earlier Monday that both Israel and Gaza want to contain cross-border violence that has flared in recent days, as he detailed a new emergency fund to aid the blockaded territory.

Earlier Monday, Israel's military struck what it said was an underground infrastructure site in Gaza in response to rocket fire. The military has struck various targets in Gaza in recent days and killed two Palestinians, who tried to infiltrate Israel after a bomb on the border wounded four Israeli soldiers.

There were no reports of casualties from the latest strike.

"We confirm through our relationship with the two sides that they are not interested in escalation or engaging in a confrontation that could ignite the entire region," the Qatari envoy, Mohammed Al-Emadi, told reporters in Gaza City.

Al-Emadi, whose country maintains contacts with the Hamas and has hosted its leaders, coordinates Qatar's relief and reconstruction projects in Gaza. On Monday, he announced details of a $9 million emergency fund for addressing fuel and medicine shortages.

Gaza has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas wrested control of the territory from the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in 2007. A dispute over money and revenue collections has stalled a reconciliation deal between Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, which Egypt brokered in October.

Abbas has since stepped up financial pressure on Gaza. Hamas says the cuts are endangering the functioning of Gaza hospitals.

The Qatari grant includes $2 million in medical supplies and $500,000 for fuel to power backup generators in Gaza's public health centers, enough to keep them running for a month.

Trucks loaded with the supplies and decorated with Qatari flags and posters of the oil-rich sheikhdom's rulers could be seen outside Gaza City's main Shifa hospital on Monday, where Al-Emadi and UN officials spoke.

Hospital cleaning workers demonstrated their support during the ceremony, holding signs reading "Thank you, Qatar." They have been on a strike for 10 days, demanding payment from the Hamas-run Health Ministry. Hamas and Abbas' Palestinian Authority are locked in a dispute over who is responsible for paying them.

The Gaza border area has been generally quiet since a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas in 2014. But it has seen an increase in violence since President Donald Trump's announcement in December recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

(c)2018 the Arab News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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