Qatar will make good on an increment of its $1 billion pledge to finance reconstruction in Gaza, according to senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
“His highness, Emir [Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani], agreed to deposit $100 million in the Gaza rebuilding fund,” Haniyeh announced at the completion of the second phase of a Qatari-funded housing project in southern Gaza.
Less than half of the money pledged, dating to the aftermath of the Hamas-Israel war in 2014, has been allocated.
This $100 million will reportedly finance construction of a $25 million hospital in Rafah, road improvements, electrification and other projects.
However, Qatar’s special envoy to Gaza, Muhammad al-Amadi, told the Times of Israel that it was not yet a done deed, that “this sum has not been yet been transferred.”
Al-Amadi also seemed to prefer his Israeli contacts over their Palestinian counterparts. He said that he has an “excellent” relationship with various Israeli officials, and that in some cases it is the Palestinian officials who are dragging their feet in the rehabilitation of Gaza.
“I am in contact with senior Israeli officials and agencies and the relationship is great,” al-Amadi told Times last week, the first time al-Amadi has spoken with Israeli media.
“The head of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, [Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai], is of course one of them, but there are others,” he said.
Al-Amadi also serves as the go-between for Israel and Hamas on the issue of prisoners. Hamas has so far rebuffed Israeli efforts to negotiate the release of two citizens believed held by Hamas, as well as the return of the bodies of two soldiers killed in the fighting in 2014.
The Qatari declined to comment specifically on the matter. “I do not confirm nor deny these things,” he said. “This is a very sensitive matter, particularly for the Israeli side.”