Palestinians hurl stones at Israeli troops during a protest at the Israel-Gaza border fence, in the southern Gaza Strip February 15, 2019.
(photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)
Twenty Palestinians were wounded on Tuesday during clashes with the IDF in the northern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said.
The Palestinians were participating in the Hamas-sponsored “naval protest” near the Bet Lahia beach, according to Hamas sources. The soldiers used tear-gas to disperse the “peaceful” protesters, the sources said.
The Palestinian Red Crescent organization claimed that seven Palestinians were wounded by gunfire. Two of them were said to have sustained moderate wounds. The remaining Palestinians were taken to the hospital for tear-gas inhalation, the organization said.
The IDF said that is soldiers had responded to a violent riot of some 150 protestors who threw stones and rolled burning tires at the security forces. Some of the protestors also attempted to place explosive devices by the barrier.
Gaza border protests have been heating up as media outlets reported that Qatar is unlikely to renew its funding
pledge to provide fuel for the Gaza power plant. Qatar pledged $150 million to Gaza in the fall in an attempt to alleviate humanitarian suffering in the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip.
The United Nations and Israel hold that such funds would help quell Palestinian violence and help prevent an outbreak of hostilities between the IDF and Hamas that could lead to war.
In January Qatar signed a memorandum of understanding with the UN
in January to provide $20m. over the course of the next year for Palestinians in need.
It had already given $30m. in cash to Hamas in November and December of last year. In January it gave $10m. to 94,000 poor Gaza families, which was broken down to $100 per family. It’s still expected to distribute three more payments of $10m. each to Gaza.
In addition, Qatar pledged $60m. for fuel for a period of roughly six months that ends i in April. Qatar had never spoken of renewing that pledge, but it is now presumed that no more money will be immediately forthcoming for Gaza fuel.
The money has alleviated the electricity crisis in Gaza, raising the hours of available power from about four to 12 hours a day. Part of the electricity crisis stems from severe economic sanctions the Palestinian Authority has imposed on Gaza, in an attempt to regain control of the Strip. Hamas has forcibly ruled in Gaza since 2007, after it ousted Fatah in a bloody coup.
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