By Sohaila Barghash
For more than a year now, Palestinians in Gaza have gathered at least weekly along the border in protests against Israel, calling on Israel to end its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
And since the protests began, at least 264 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces, where the majority were killed during clashes.
Also two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.
Palestinian health ministry in Gaza stated that 15 people were injured by Israeli fire during border demonstrations, including “two paramedics and one journalist”.
On Friday, Hamas, the ruling body in the Gaza Strip, called upon the UN to find a way to funnel Qatari aid into the Palestinian enclave urgently.
Hamas said the Egyptian-brokered truce with Israel would force Israel to ease its blockade of the strip in exchange for prevention of attacks by Hamas.
However, Israel has not yet publicly stated its agreement to the truce.
In November, Qatar committed to around $15 million a month in aid to the strip over six months.
A portion of the funds was used to pay salaries of Hamas employees, yet it was prevented amid political opposition in Israel.
Khalil al Haya, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau in Gaza said, “The Qatari funds exist and the funds allocated by the World Bank (for the cash for work programmes) exist, but the pace of the implementation of the United Nations mechanisms is slow.”
Two million Palestinians live in the small territory of Gaza, what is considered an open prison by many, crammed between Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean.
For more than a decade now, Israel has blockaded the Gaza Strip over disputes with Hamas, and Egypt often closes Gaza’s only other gateway to the outside world.