Palestinians burn tires in response to Israeli forces' intervention during "Great March of Return" demonstration near Israeli border in Rafah, Gaza, on Friday. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib / Anadolu Agency

Qatari officials said Friday that the Persian Gulf state would work with the United Nations to distribute aid to Gaza after Hamas, the Palestinian enclave’s Islamist rulers, rejected a cash injection due to Israeli conditions that were deemed unacceptable.

Later in the day thousands of demonstrators again gathered along the Gaza-Israel border, where the territory’s Health Ministry said one Palestinian was shot dead by the Israeli army.

Mohammed al-Emadi, the Qatari ambassador to the Gaza Strip, said his country would now channel millions of dollars in humanitarian projects “in full coordination with the United Nations.”

A first package of agreements, worth $20 million, will be signed with the UN on Monday, he told journalists in Gaza City.

Details of the scheme are so far unclear and there was no immediate comment from the UN.

Under an informal deal reached in November, $90 million in Qatari aid was set to be transferred to Gaza in six monthly instalments.

The money paid salaries of Hamas employees and helped impoverished Gazans in exchange for reduced tensions along the border, where often violent demonstrations have been held since March 2018.

On Friday a Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in renewed border clashes, with a further 22 wounded, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

The Israeli army said around 10,000 people “rioted in a number of locations along the fence,” including throwing stones and grenades at soldiers, who responded with “riot dispersal means.”

Cash injection blocked

The renewed border clashes came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked the latest Qatari cash injection, which was due this week.

The Israeli leader took the decision after two shooting incidents along the Gaza-Israel border, including one in which a soldier was hurt by Palestinian fire.

Israel’s permission is required since the cash must be delivered via its territory.

The authorities eventually relented and gave the green light for the delayed transfer, which follows two $15 million payments delivered to Hamas since the November deal.

But Hamas said on Thursday it would not accept it, accusing Israel of adding conditions not covered by the agreement.

Hamas did not give further details, while the future of payments to Hamas employees remains unclear.

Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, European Union and others, has ruled Gaza since seizing control from the internationally recognised Palestinian government in 2007.

It has since fought three wars with Israel.

– with reporting by Agence France-Presse

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