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Israel-Gaza border heats up despite agreement on Qatari aid

The day after Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced an agreement had been reached on getting Qatari aid into Gaza, Palestinians stormed the security fence and seriously wounded an Israeli soldier.
Fatima Shbair/Getty Images

Israel’s government showed some cautious optimism over Gaza last Friday. Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Aug. 20, “We decided to change and improve the mechanism of providing Qatari humanitarian aid to residents of the Strip to ensure that the money reaches those that really need it.” Gantz clarified that Israel will supervise the transfer of the money to Gaza and said that he had also held talks with Qatari officials in the lead-up to this decision. The Israeli press reported later that Gantz had quietly met with a senior Qatari official in a third country to discuss the issue.

The issue of Qatari aid to Gaza has been on the new government’s agenda since it came to power. In fact, it has been on the Israeli agenda since the 11-day round of violence on the Gaza border last May. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Gantz both made it clear that the old process of cash deliveries into the Strip in suitcases could not go on, and that a new mechanism must be put in place to ensure that the money reaches the needy and is not used for terror purposes. The United Nations and also Qatar apparently agreed that a new mechanism should be established. But getting everyone, including Hamas, to agree on parameters for a new framework was not so easy.  

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