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Indirect talks between Hamas, Israel to end crises in Gaza: Qatari official
Last Updated: 2018-07-02 07:06 | Xinhua
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A Qatari diplomat said on Sunday there are indirect negotiations between Palestinian Islamic Hamas movement and Israel to reach a deal to end crises in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

"The U.S. administration knows about the talks," Chairman of the Qatari Committee for the Reconstruction of Gaza Ambassador Mohammed al-Amadi told Xinhua.

Al-Amadi, who is in a visit to Gaza, said no deal has been reached so far, adding that negotiations are still ongoing to reach a comprehensive deal to improve the situation in the poverty-stricken territory.

Gaza has been placed under a tight Israeli blockade since Islamic Hamas movement seized the territory after routing forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007.

The blockade has pushed Gaza's 2 million populations deeper into poverty with inflating unprecedented unemployment rates.

In the recent nine years, Israel and Hamas movement have been engaged in three major wars that claimed the lives of thousands of Palestinians and Israelis.

The Qatari official said the United States has recently proposed projects for the Gaza Strip, which will provide basic services such as electricity, desalination of drinking water, work and rehabilitation of the industrial zone in the Gaza Strip.

Al-Amadi said that the projects were presented by U.S. President Donald Trump's senior advisor Jared Kushner during his recent Middle East tour, which included Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

"We demanded lifting the blockade on Gaza, which suffered three wars ... we highlighted to the Americans and Israelis the need to achieve this, and we are working on this matter, but so far we have not reached any results," he revealed.

Israeli Haaretz daily reported recently that the Trump administration is trying to convince Arab Gulf countries to invest hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars in economic projects in the Gaza Strip, in an attempt to calm the security situation there and generate momentum before the White House presents its Middle East peace plan, known as the "Deal of the Century."

In response, the Palestinian Authority accused the U.S. administration of planning to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank in order to undermine the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Al-Amadi said any solutions for the Gaza Strip crises must be agreed by the Palestinian Authority.

"We will not interfere without the consent and the presence of the Palestinian Authority," he stressed.

He also affirmed that Qatar will not interfere in the U.S. Mideast peace plan seeking to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, stressing that Qatar will back any decision made by the Palestinian Authority in this regard.

Speaking about the Egyptian-sponsored internal Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas movement and Fatah party, al-Amadi said "Qatar will support any plans or agreement that will help end the sufferings of the Palestinians in Gaza."

During his current visit to Gaza, al-Amadi announced the distribution of a grant of 2.5 million dollars to Gaza universities in addition to his country's donation of the same value as medical supplies to hospitals.

"We are looking for a permanent solution to the problems of Gaza and we want to prevent any new war against the enclave," the Qatari diplomat said, adding that he was told by Hamas and Israel that they are not interested in a new war.

"But we have agreed with Hamas and Israel that in the event of a war, our projects will not be targeted unless they were used by Hamas," he said.

In 2012, Qatar launched a package of projects related to the fields of housing, health and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip with a total value of 407 million dollars.

Qatar also pledged to donate 1 billion dollars during the international donor conference held in 2014 in Egypt for the reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza.

The conference, which was held two months after a deadly 51-day long Israeli war on Gaza, raised 5.4 billion dollars.

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