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Middle East

Qatar allocates 430 million euros in aid to Palestinians

media Rally for Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli jails. Nablus, Apr 11, 2019. REUTERS /Abed Omar Qusini

Qatar says it has allocated some 430 million euros in aid to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority to support education and health services and provide urgent humanitarian relief.

The authority led by president Mahmud Abbas has been hit by the cutting of two of its leading sources of revenues.

Washington ended all bilateral US aid after the Palestinians severed contacts following Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2017.

A row with Israel has meanwhile led to a halt in the transfers of customs duties it levies on goods destined for Palestinian markets.

The official Qatar News Agency reported that most of the money will be given in the form of grants and loans "to support the health and education sectors' budgets with the Palestinian Authority".

It said that Doha has also allocated around 160 million euros in "urgent relief and humanitarian aid and in support of UN programmes in Palestine."

Aid will also go to the power sector to ensure supplies are not interrupted, the statement said.

Israel against special payments to Palestinian prisoners' families

In February, Israel decided to deduct around 9 million euros a month from customs receipts it transfers to the Palestinians, corresponding to the amount it said they paid families of prisoners or directly to inmates serving time in Israeli jails.

The Palestinians responded by saying they would refuse any funds where unilateral deductions had been made.

Israel sees the payments to those who have carried out attacks against Israelis as encouraging further violence.

The Palestinian Authority describes the payments as a form of welfare, while the Palestinian public regards prisoners jailed by Israel as national heroes.

Gas-rich Qatar is a major aid donor to the Palestinians, both to Abbas's West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and to the rival administration of the Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.

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