Qatar Emir pledges $12m to solve Gaza's electricity crisis
DOHA - Qatar has said it will "swiftly" pay $12 million to the Palestinian Authority to solve crippling electricity shortages in Gaza, state media in the Gulf state reported.
Qatar's Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, made the pledge after meeting senior Hamas official Ismail Haniyeh in Doha on Sunday.
"HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani directed to swiftly pay QR 43.8 million to solve the problem of electricity in the Gaza Strip," reported the Qatar News Agency (QNA).
"His Highness also directed that an international cooperation should be undertaken to study the problem of electricity in the Strip and make proposals to swiftly solve it."
Gaza has been crippled by electricity shortages in recent weeks, leaving the territory with at best four hours of power a day.
The power cuts have prompted demonstrations and last week thousands of people in northern Gaza converged on the local headquarters of the electricity company run by Hamas, the Islamist movement that has ruled the Strip since 2007.
But the company said Sunday that the first tranche of $4 million from Qatar had arrived and arrangements were being made for the delivery of the fuel starting Monday.
It is unclear how the funds reached Gaza, which is run by the Islamist movement Hamas, the rival of the Fatah faction that controls the Palestinian Authority.
A government statement carried by QNA said Qatar would pay the equivalent to $4 million "per month for three months to solve the problem of electricity in the Strip".
It cited a Qatari envoy to Gaza, Mohammed al-Emmadi, as saying that the "amounts would be transferred immediately and urgently to the Palestinian Authority to resolve this problem facing the residents of Gaza".
"Qatar will work with the Palestinian government and international parties concerned to fully resolve it," it said, without elaborating.
Qatar has long pledged aid for Gaza, including a reported payment of $1 billion following the war there in 2014.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal lives in Doha as a "dear guest" of the Qatari government.