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)
Israel delayed the transfer of $15 million in Qatari funds to Hamas in response to rewed violence along the Gaza border, according to media reports on Monday.
Neither the Prime Minister’s Office or the Defense Ministry had any comment on the matter. But as of Monday nights, there had been no formal notification that the money had entered Gaza.
Since November Israel has skirted the Palestinian Authority by facilitating the Qatari transfer of two separate payments
of $15 million each to Hamas.
The money is earmarked for civil servants salaries, which the Palestinian Authority stopped paying as part of its economic sanctions against Hamas.
Israel had hoped that the influx of cash would ease social unrest and reduce violence at its Gaza border.
Now that the elections are under way, however, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing opponents have hammered him on this issue charging that he is soft on terror.
“The Israeli government feeds Hamas with one hand and chastises it with the other,” former defense minister Avigdor Liberman said on Monday.
“There is no consistent policy, no future vision and no willingness to cut off Hamas terror," said Liberman who heads the Yisrael Beytenu party.
He accused Netanyahu of withholding the money as an election ploy.
“It's a shame Benjamin Netanyahu has understood only now, that Israel cannot finance terror against itself.
“I hope to hear that this decision [to withhold the funds] is absolute and unrelated to the election and that after April 9, we will not see Netanyahu renew the money transfers to Hamas,” Liberman said.
Late Sunday, warning sirens rang out in the city of Ashkelon and Hof Ashkelon region at approximately 3 a.m. Local residents reported hearing the sound of explosions.
According to the IDF, its Iron Dome Aerial Defense System intercepted a rocket that had been launched against Israel by Palestinians in Gaza.
In response IDF fighter jets and a helicopter struck a number of terror targets within Hamas's military camp in northern Gaza.
Earlier Sunday a drone with dozen of incendiary balloons launched fro Gaza, landing inside Israel.
The balloons were attached to a drone, which was labeled with a logo from the Gaza engineering college. The balloons sat in a field near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip for most of the day before security personnel could raise the drone using heavy machinery. When that occurred, the device detonated, but the incident did not cause any damage or injuries.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>