Dubai: On Thursday, the Qatari government pledged $60 million to help build a natural gas pipeline running from Israel to the Gaza Strip; the Qatari government said, a project aimed at easing the country’s energy crisis long plagued impoverished Palestinian enclave.
The natural gas now flowing through a pipeline in Israel from the eastern Mediterranean will be transported to Gaza via a new expansion, the Qatari Foreign Ministry announced on its website. The eastern Mediterranean has become one of the world’s largest drilling areas abroad, with lucrative deep-water gas fields recently discovered in Israel’s territorial waters.
The European Union has also pledged more than $ 24,448,800 to fund the pipeline on the Gaza side of the border, the ministry added.
The statement does not give a date for the completion of the pipeline. But the official confirmation of funding after weeks of anticipation indicates a diplomatic breakthrough between the many parties to the project: Europeans, Israelis, Palestinians, and Qataris.
Israel and Hamas, an Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, are bitter enemies and have waged three wars and numerous other skirmishes since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. The violent rounds, coupled with a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade and fighting with the rival Palestinian Authority, helped cause a financial collapse in the enclave.
Gaza has only one power station and is struggling with frequent and widespread power outages.
According to the Qatari statement, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh praised Qatar and European support, saying the project would absolutely solve the electricity problem.
The small, energetic Gulf nation of Qatar has become a significant donor to the Palestinians and has provided $ 20 million to Gaza every month since 2018. The money paid for much-needed electricity helped Hamas cover its civil servants’ salaries and provided $ 100 million a month in grants to many impoverished families. Qatar has provided additional funds for development hospitals such as roads and hospitals.
Qatari aid, provided with Israeli consent, has given the local economy some relief and is seen as a factor in preventing the boiling tension between Israel and Hamas from turning into renewed conflict.