Netanyahu stops Qatari money transfer to Hamas after Gaza confrontation

A third Qatari cash donation for impoverished Gaza civil servants was supposed to be made this week after it was held back by Israel in protest of Palestinian border violence.

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January 22, 2019 19:48
2 minute read.
A Palestinian Hamas-hired civil servant displays U.S. Dollar banknotes

A Palestinian Hamas-hired civil servant displays U.S. Dollar banknotes after receiving her salary paid by Qatar, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip December 7, 2018.. (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Tuesday not to allow the third tranche of Qatari funds into Gaza as scheduled on Wednesday because of the day’s violence there.

According to officials, this decision was made in coordination with the various security services.

An IDF tank struck a Hamas observation post, killing one Palestinian on Tuesday, after an IDF officer was slightly injured Tuesday evening by gunfire along the border in the southern Gaza Strip. Earlier in the day, an IDF tank struck a Hamas post in the northern Gaza Strip in response to shooting at IDF soldiers, although no injuries or damage were caused, the IDF said.

The Israel Air Force attacked terror targets in Gaza on Tuesday night as a response to the confrontation. Reports said the IAF struck at least two targets in Gaza, one in the south and one in the center.

This third cash donation for Gaza civil servants was held up earlier this month as well because of violence there. In November, Israel allowed Qatar to begin a six-month cash infusion of some $90 million into Gaza to pay civil servant wages and for fuel.

Hamas did not immediately comment on Netanyahu’s decision to hold back the third payment of the Qatari grant to the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said that Mahmoud Alabed Al-Nabahin, 24, was killed in an Israeli military strike in the center of the Gaza Strip. Four other Palestinians were wounded, one seriously, the ministry said.

On Sunday, Qatari envoy Mohammed Al-Emadi announced that the third cash grant from his country to the Gaza Strip will be delivered on Wednesday. The Qatari diplomat told Reuters that the latest $15 million payment was initially withheld by Israel, but would still arrive in the Strip.

“Due to the violence on the border, the Israeli government postponed it,” Emadi said. “The agreement is subject to there not being too much violence, so last Friday they [Israel] approved to do the third tranche.”

He added that he would not physically carry the cash into the Gaza Strip as with previous disbursements, but that a new system had been arranged. However, he did not say how it would work.

“We need to find a solution for these two million people – this is our aim and goal. Not just to deliver money because Israel wants quiet or Hamas wants money,” Emadi said.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Palestine issued a statement denying that the Qatari funds would be delivered through its branches in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu has come under harsh criticism from the Right for allowing the cash infusions into Gaza. Former defense minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said Sunday that the Qatari cash payments are “the continuation of the process of surrendering to terrorists and Hamas.”

Israel, Liberman said, “must stop the transfer of Qatari money, fuel and any additional equipment to Gaza and make sure every concession to Gaza is only in return for the release of our soldiers and citizens who are held by Hamas!”

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.


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