The donation was welcomed by Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates the enclave. They said it would help ease the wage shortages that have tested already strained relations with the US-backed Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
The emir of the wealthy Gulf state, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, said the payment of 113 million riyals was meant to “alleviate suffering and financial distress”, according to Qatar’s state news agency, QNA.
A reconciliation pact signed in 2014 by the two sides raised hopes among Hamas that its 50,000 public sector employees’ wages would be taken care of via the Palestinian Authority (PA) payroll.
But the Palestinian Authority cannot afford to pay all the extra workers. International donors who support the PA budget, including the European Union, say they want an audit of workers and cutbacks to the bloated payroll, which costs more than $2 billion a year.
“The July payment will be made in full immediately once the Qatari financial fund is received,” Hamas’ deputy finance minister, Youssef al-Kayyali said.
The breadth and resilience of Qatar’s links to Islamist groups including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has suffered a crackdown in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, fuels suspicions in other Gulf states.