Qatar, Egypt agree to supply fuel and building materials to Gaza

Deal was reached in Oslo on Wednesday during meeting for international donor group for Palestinians.

About 2,200 homes were destroyed in Gaza during the war in May 2021 [File: Fatima Shbair/Getty Images]

Qatar and Egypt have signed agreements to supply fuel and basic building materials to the Gaza Strip, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The announcement was made in Oslo by Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, Qatar’s minister of state for foreign affairs, during a ministerial meeting of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), the international donor group for Palestinians.

“His Excellency [Al-Muraikhi] noted the importance of the current understandings, facilitating the movement of travelers through Rafah Border Crossing, and communication between all parties to calm the situation in the region,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement.

The announcement comes as Gaza pushes to rebuild after an 11-day war with Israel in May. Authorities in Gaza say about 2,200 homes were destroyed during the Israeli bombing of the enclave and 37,000 were damaged according to the Reuters news agency.

The fighting killed at least 253 Palestinians, including dozens of children. Rockets launched by Hamas and other groups killed 13 people in Israel, including two children, according to Israeli officials.

Following a May 21 ceasefire, mediated by Egypt, access to reconstruction funds and materials has been a key Hamas demand. Israel, which has imposed a tight land, air and sea blockade on Gaza since 2007, limits construction materials entering the territory, saying Hamas uses them to build weapons to wage attacks.

But following an agreement with the United Nations and Qatar, Israel allowed financial aid from the Gulf state to enter Gaza.

Gaza officials estimate it will take $479m to rebuild homes and infrastructure damaged in the May fighting. Qatar and Egypt have each pledged $500 million for Gaza reconstruction.

The United States, which attended the AHLC on Wednesday, called the meeting an “important opportunity” to support economic development for Palestinians.

“During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the US commitment to advance equal measures of prosperity, security and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians alike, which is important in its own right but also as a means to advance towards a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the US government said in a statement.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters