Aid from Doha is vital for the Gazans, who have been under blockade since 2007

Qatar is using its reconciliation with Egypt to expand its influence in Gaza

photo_camera AFP/ SAID KHATIB - A Palestinian boy waves the Qatari and Palestinian flags during the groundbreaking for the construction of the Hamad bin Jassim General Hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, 8 February 2021.

Qatar has announced that it will resume financial support to the Gaza Strip after agreeing on the method of aid disbursement with Israel and Hamas. Mohammed Al-Emadi, chairman of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, said the money would reach the enclave "in the coming days". Doha has decided to send nearly $30 million, of which a third will go to 100,000 needy families, another third will be used to improve electrical installations and to supply the Strip with fuel. Finally, the remaining $10 million will be used to pay the salaries of Gazan civil servants. Al-Emadi also announced an agreement for a wider reopening of border crossings to facilitate the passage of people and goods.

The Qatari decision to restart funding to at-risk families and civil servants is aimed at maintaining relative calm in Gaza after the latest escalation of tension in May. Doha is also seeking to increase its influence in the enclave through its relations with Cairo, which have improved in recent months, analysts say. Akram Hosam, an expert on political relations in the region, tells The Arab Weekly that Qatar is using its rapprochement with Egypt as a means to "strengthen its role in Gaza through grants to quietly infiltrate the Strip".

atalayar_ayuda qatar-gaza

"Qatar and other regional powers tried to damage Egypt's role in the past, but the recent escalation of violence, its repercussions and Cairo's active diplomacy made these countries realise their limits". Egypt played a key role in the truce between Hamas and Israel, after several days of bombings and attacks by both sides. Egyptian diplomacy consolidated itself as the main mediator between the two sides, meeting with relevant figures in the conflict such as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and former Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

However, recent tensions between Israel and Hamas have led to some failures of Egyptian diplomacy. In August, Egypt closed the Rafah crossing following attacks between Palestinians and Israelis, prompting rejection by Hamas, which claimed that the closure of the crossing would aggravate the humanitarian crisis.

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Egypt's diplomatic defeat facilitates Qatar's expansion in the area. Doha maintains relations with Hamas, as well as supporting them economically. Although it has no official diplomatic ties with Israel, it has cooperated in sending humanitarian aid to Gaza. However, as Palestinian affairs expert Tariq Fahmy notes, Egypt does not view Qatar with suspicion. Instead, it does watch Hamas and seeks to protect the security of its borders with Gaza. 


Earlier this year, Qatar and Egypt resumed diplomatic relations after a crisis that began in 2017. Egypt, like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, severed ties with Qatar over its alleged "support for terrorism", something Doha has always denied. Qatar's ties with the Muslim Brotherhood also tarnished relations between Doha and Cairo, as the organisation is banned in Egypt and considered a terrorist group, as it is in other countries such as the United States. Another point where the two countries clash is Libya, where Qatar supports the Government of National Accord and Egypt supports Khalifa Haftar

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