Photo Credit: Doha Information Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qatar
Although Qatar has not yet signed on to the Abraham Accords with Israel, the Gulf nation nevertheless has been taking a lead role in making sure that Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorists maintain a modicum of peaceful behavior in the enclave south of Israel.
Qatari Ambassador Mohamed Al-Emadi, head of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza, has also headed the distribution of monthly cash payments to the population in the enclave.
This weekend, Al-Emadi told a Qatari news outlet there will be two contracts for a new gas pipeline project to supply natural gas to Gaza from Israel. One contract – between the Palestinian Authority and Delek — will cover the purchase of the gas. The second contract will cover the cost of extending the gas pipeline between Israel and Gaza.
The European Union is believed to have pledged some $5 million for the installation of the gas pipeline on the Gaza side of the border, leading to the power plant. Qatar is believed to be handling the installation of the gas pipeline on the Israeli side of the border.
Once the pipeline is installed on both sides of the border, it is expected the project will result in a greatly expanded supply of electricity – about double the current output, in fact – estimated to reach about 400 megawatts, while reducing the cost of the electricity as well.
The flow of energy to the enclave’s sole power plant in the enclave, and the enclave’s access to electricity, has been iffy at best up to this point due to power struggles between Hamas and Fatah. The two factions have in the past tended to use the Gaza population and their payments of electricity bills as a political football, rather than simply transfer the payments directly to the Israel Electric Company to cover the cost of the electricity they received.
Spotty payments together with rocket attacks aimed at Israeli civilians that occasionally took out important wires and electrical installations have made delivery of the needed energy supplies difficult to maintain.
It is hoped the new multinational project will finally bring an end to the suffering of the people of Gaza, once control over energy in the enclave is addressed by people than the local terrorist leadership.