Qatar sending team to Israel to advance electricity project in Gaza

FILE: Gaza's Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh, center left, and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, center, right, walk together during a welcome ceremony in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012.

i24NEWS Latest Revision May 28, 2019, 5:39 AM

Qatar has also said it would attend the US-led conference on the Palestinian economy in Bahrain next month

Qatar announced on Monday that it was sending a technical team to Israel and the Gaza Strip to address the electricity problem in the enclave through the construction of a new power line. 

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The delegation is set to arrive on June 5, just in time for the end of the month-long Muslim fasting holiday of Ramadan that gave way to a cease-fire after the serious escalation that killed one Israeli and seven Palestinians over one weekend. 

The move seems to be the next step in maintaining the current ceasefire agreement on the border brokered by Egypt, the UN, as well as Qatar.

The truce reportedly includes a number of humanitarian projects in Gaza, even though Israel has not publicly recognized the cease-fire agreement. 

The long-discussed project, known as Power Line 161, is meant to provide 161 kilovolts of electricity from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

The project has been stalled at various stages, including due to alleged frustration by Qatar over its slow progress. 

“Unfortunately, meaningful progress on the 161 kV line from Israel to Gaza has not been achieved; it is now necessary to agree an implementation roadmap to move this project forward,” read a report from last month by the Office of the Quartet (the international body consisting of the UN, United States, European Union, and Russia for the purpose of addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). i24NEWS DESK | Qatar distributes “$100 per needy family” in Gaza | Monday, May 13th 2019

However, a UN report published last month commended the doubling of electricity in the strip over the previous year, though it warned of “unprecedented”, financial, humanitarian and political challenges that “threaten the stability of the West Bank and the very survival of the Palestinian statebuilding effort.”

Qatar has invested significant funds and resources in the Gaza Strip and just this month donated $100 for every family labeled as “needy.”

On Friday, the Gulf country announced that it would attend the US-led conference on the Palestinian economy in Bahrain next month, making it the third Arab country planning to participate after the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

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