Former Shin Bet head: Israel should go through with Qatari funds transfer

Qatari fund transfer talks started again after an IDF soldier was lightly wounded by a terrorist's fire.

January 23, 2019 09:19
2 minute read.
Palestinian riots in the Beit Hanoun area of the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian riots in the Beit Hanoun area of the Gaza Strip.. (photo credit: KOBI RICHTER/TPS)


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Former Shin Bet head Yaakov Peri said that Israel needs to continue transferring Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip, in an interview on Army Radio on Wednesday morning.

Peri said that the decision not to transfer the funds has increased the possibility of a flare-up between Israel and Hamas, which rules the Palestinian coastal enclave.

"Hamas will not become a lover of Israel because of the money or because of its non-transfer," explained Peri. "Israel needs to act according to its own interest, which is to avoid confrontation. If the same Qatari funds cause a confrontation not to occur, the broader consideration must prevail."

The former Shin Bet head explained that he expects that, in the end, the money will be transferred because "we do not have a choice."

"We should have initiated civil and humanitarian initiatives already after Operation Protective Edge," Peri said. "We have been on the brink of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza for a while now, and once it blows up, the world will come to us with complaints."

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered on Tuesday to halt the third wave of the transfer of Qatari funds. The instruction came after an IDF officer was lightly wounded by shots fired in the Kissufim area earlier in the day during a disturbance in the southern Gaza Strip.

The subsequent investigation showed that a bullet hit the officer's helmet. The officer, a company commander in the paratrooper unit, was evacuated by rescue teams to Soroka-University Medical Center in Beersheba.

In response to the events, the IDF attacked a Hamas position in Gaza using tank fire.

Meanwhile, five suspects neared the border fence in the southern Gaza Strip, two of whom managed to cross over into Israeli territory, but shortly after returned to Gaza.

At the same time, Palestinians reported that following the tank fire, a Hamas member was killed and two others were wounded, one was in serious condition.

Another shooting at an empty Hamas position occurred on Tuesday morning on the northern Gaza border. No one was injured in the incident.

The Tuesday event in the Kissufim area was more complicated. It began with a violent riot, during which stones were thrown at IDF forces. At the peak of the attack, the soldier was under open fire.

As mentioned, the Hamas position was manned during the incident and, according to reports in Gaza, two Hamas military wing operatives were killed as a result of the attack.

This article was translated by Tamar Beeri.

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