(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision to permit Qatar to pay the salaries of thousands of civil servants in Gaza "the right step" on Saturday night.
Speaking to reporters as he set off for Paris to join World War I commemorations alongside other world leaders, Netanyahu said the deal with Qatar, approved for humanitarian reasons, was backed by both the military and his top-level political security cabinet.
“We held serious discussions. It’s a question of alternatives,” he said of the deal. "These things were done, under certain conditions, in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis."
Qatari envoy’s convoy stoned during a tour at Gaza border protest venue, November 11, 2018 (Reuters)
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Tens of thousands of Hamas civil servants have seen sporadic wage payments since 2014, as the Palestinian Authority has refused to add to its payroll some 40,000 Hamas public sector employees hired after the Islamists took control of the Gaza Strip in a near civil war in 2007.
Netanyahu said that he would do “whatever I can” to keep Israelis living in communities adjacent to the volatile border with Gaza safe, while at the same time working to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the Strip — which experts say would only further exacerbate tensions.
"Without exception, every step has a price,” Netanyahu said. “When you take steps of leadership, if you cannot bear the price, you cannot lead. And I know how to bear the price."
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