Devastating Israeli airstrikes have worsened the living conditions of people in Israel-blockaded Gaza who rely on external humanitarian aid.

Israel and Qatar have agreed on a United Nations-led mechanism to transfer aid from the Gulf state to the Palestinians in Gaza who urgently need relief after surviving the devastating Israeli airstrikes in May. 

Aid disbursement after the Israeli attacks were blocked by Tel Aviv, which blamed Hamas rulers for accessing funds for military purposes. 

Impoverished people of Gaza who are squeezed into a tiny Gaza strip rely on external humanitarian aid as Israel turned the enclave into an open air prison in 2007 by imposing a tight blockade. 

In a statement Thursday, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Thursday that under the new mechanism “financial aid will be transferred to the Gazan people by the UN directly to their bank accounts, with Israel overseeing the recipients". 

He said Israel was also negotiating with the Palestinian Authority (PA), which controls some areas of  the Israeli-occupied West Bank, on the establishment of "an alternative mechanism for the transfer of funds (to Gaza) under their supervision".

Distribution of aid 

According to the plan, the money will first be transferred to Qatar's UN bank account in New York, then to PAQ headquarters in Ramallah and from there will be sent to Gaza. To receive the funds, Israeli-approved recipients in Gaza will be issued UN credit cards

Qatar will transfer an initial block of $10 million to the UN from next week under the new arrangement. However, Doha’s $500 million pledge for Gaza's reconstruction, has been on hold. 

Qatar's envoy to Gaza, Mohammed Al Emadi, said his country's support to the enclave would be channelled through the UN's World Food Programme, initially benefiting an estimated 100,000 families. 

Over 4,000 Gaza homes and buildings were destroyed by the heavy Israeli airstrikes targeting even some of the buildings that housed international media organisations such as Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

 The World Bank estimated that the damage is as much as  $380 million. Egypt and Qatar have each pledged $500 million for Gaza reconstruction. At least 250 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive to the coastal enclave.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies