Israel's High Court of Justice.
(photo credit: ISRAELTOURISM / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Gaza border community residents represented by Shurat Hadin requested on Monday that the High Court of Justice block the transfer of $150 million in funds to Hamas that is expected soon.
Israel does not transfer funds to Hamas, but it has allowed Qatar to transfer the funds to pay Hamas-affiliated persons’ salaries and for rebuilding destroyed areas, starting with a $15 million transfer in November.
In a complex geopolitical game, Israel agreed to allow the transfers to avoid an economic deterioration in Gaza that would lead to a broader war. This comes during a time period when PA President Mahmoud Abbas has frozen or delayed payments to Hamas over internal Palestinian disputes.
The two petitions on behalf of mothers from Gaza border communities said that the state must “stop Hanukkah gift money to Hamas” and that even if it is not Israeli funds, they should not reach Hamas.
The petitions stated that funds must not be allowed to go through as long as Gaza is run by the terror group Hamas, since there is no way to guarantee that they will not be used for terror and rocket attacks against Israel.
The petition also noted that Hamas has previously used ingenious complex schemes to siphon off global aid funds for terror purposes, even though they had been designated for humanitarian uses. It added that Hamas has come up with new ways to outwit the IDF’s special mechanism for oversight of global aid funds and building supply transfers.
Even with electronic bank fund transfers there were difficulties with policing Hamas’ use of the funds – especially with the Qatar funds – which were brought as cash in suitcases.
In addition, the petition noted that money used by Hamas for organizing its marches on the Israeli border fence, including fire kites and balloons, might be used to destroy the livelihood of the Gaza community border residents.
Since March, these incendiaries have destroyed massive amounts of agriculture belonging to border residents costing the state huge economic losses.
The petitioners said that they had warned the Prime Minister’s Office, the Defense Ministry and other relevant authorities that permitting the Qatari funds to transfer in the prevailing circumstances could present an unreasonable danger to the Gaza corridor to the point of being illegal.
Shurat Hadin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said, “History proves that the nation of Israel needs to fight its enemy and not bribe it with protection-style money…The last time the government had $15 million sent to Hamas for ‘quiet’, it received” around 500 rockets in return, she said – referring to the near-war that almost broke out in November.
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