Gazans worried by Qatari crisis

Residents of Gaza express concern over Qatar's rift with some Arab states that could affect aid to impoverished region.

    Qatar is among the biggest contributors of aid to the impoverished Palestinian territory [Reuters]
    Qatar is among the biggest contributors of aid to the impoverished Palestinian territory [Reuters]

    Aid groups and residents of the Gaza Strip have expressed concern over Qatar's rift with several Arab countries, which could affect aid to the impoverished region.

    Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council said on Tuesday that Qatar "has been very important as an investor in Gaza" and as a "contributor to infrastructure projects there."

    He added this might now "not easily continue."

    Qatar is among the biggest contributors of aid to Palestinian territory.

    READ MORE: UN envoy blasts electricity cuts in Gaza

    Qatari support comes in the form of humanitarian projects to improve the lives of the two million people of Gaza, which has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.

    It has built a housing complex for thousands of families, paved major roads across Gaza, built a hospital and funded the reconstruction of hundreds of houses that were destroyed or damaged during a 50-day war with Israel in 2014.

    Now with a crisis looming between Qatar and its Arab neighbours, residents in Gaza expect worse to come.

    "If this happens though, and Qatar does withdraw its support, it will severely effect the people of Gaza, especially because Qatar is a huge financier of reconstruction projects after the war and charity work," Ahmed Rezeq, 25, an entrepreneur told Al Jazeera. 

    He said that eventually, the people in Gaza will "pay the price" because of the conflict. 

    Sara Thabit Dogmash, 23, a researcher at the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution, meanwhile told Al Jazeera that she is confident Qatar will continue to support the residents of Gaza. 

    "It's the richest nation in the world, it's economically and politically strong, there is no domestic opposition. Qatar supports countries and people all over the Arab world."

    In 2012, Qatar's then Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani visited Gaza to bring aid to its residents [EPA]

    With additional reporting by Dylan Collins.

    SOURCE: News agencies


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