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Qatar allocates $480 million in aid to Palestinians

The authority led by president Mahmud Abbas has been hit by the cutting of two of its leading sources of revenues.

May 07, 2019 / 12:47 PM IST

Qatar said May 7 it has allocated USD 480 million in aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority to support education and health services and provide urgent humanitarian relief.

The authority led by president Mahmud Abbas has been hit by the cutting of two of its leading sources of revenues.

Washington has ended all bilateral US aid in response to the Palestinians' severing of contacts after it recognised the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017.

A row with Israel has meanwhile led to a halt to transfers of customs duties it levies on goods destined for Palestinian markets.

"The state of Qatar has allocated USD 300 million in the form of grants and loans to support the health and education sectors' budgets with the Palestinian Authority," the official Qatar News Agency reported.

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It said that Doha has also allocated another USD 180 million in "urgent relief and humanitarian aid and in support of UN programmes in Palestine." Aid will also go to the power sector to ensure supplies are not interrupted, the statement said.

In February, Israel decided to deduct around USD 10 million a month from customs receipts it transfers to the Palestinians, corresponding to the amount it said they paid families of prisoners or directly to inmates serving time in Israeli jails.

The Palestinians responded by saying they would refuse any funds where unilateral deductions had been made.

Israel sees the payments to those who have carried out attacks against Israelis as encouraging further violence.

The Palestinian Authority describes the payments as a form of welfare, while the Palestinian public regards prisoners jailed by Israel as national heroes.

Gas-rich Qatar is a major aid donor to the Palestinians, both to Abbas's West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and to the rival Gaza administration of Islamist group Hamas.
PTI
first published: May 7, 2019 12:34 pm

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