Cabinet approves transfer of Qatar’s $15 million to Hamas in Gaza

Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Amadi arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday in an effort to resolve the crisis and sway Israel to release the funds.

PALESTINIANS TAKE part in a rally in support of Qatar, inside Qatari-funded construction project ‘Hamad City’, in the southern Gaza Strip, in June (photo credit: REUTERS)
PALESTINIANS TAKE part in a rally in support of Qatar, inside Qatari-funded construction project ‘Hamad City’, in the southern Gaza Strip, in June
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Security Cabinet agreed at the recommendation of the security establishment to allow the transfer of $15 million in Qatari funds to Gaza, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday.
Israel had initially held back on the transfer of the funds, after an IDF officer was lightly wounded in a shooting attack near the border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. The officer was struck by a bullet that hit his helmet. The IDF responded with tank fire on a Hamas observation post that killed one Palestinian.
Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Amadi arrived in Jerusalem on Wednesday in an effort to resolve the crisis and sway Israel to release the funds.
He then traveled to Gaza from Jerusalem to hold talks with Hamas leaders. One of El-Amadi’s assistants refused to provide further details.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had linked the third installment of the monthly Qatari cash transfer to a reduction in violence along the Gaza border.
He warned Hamas not to escalate the violence, saying that it would be met with a strong response if it does so.
“Maybe there is someone in Gaza who thinks he can lift up his head,” Netanyahu said during a visit to the Shizafon base in the South to observe a multipronged training exercise. “I suggest that they understand that the response will be destructive and very painful, and we are ready for any scenario and escalation.”
Israel is challenged from the north, south, east and “distant arenas,” he said, asserting that he is “confident in our ability to defeat the enemy” in each of those areas.
Meanwhile, Palestinian employees in the Gaza Strip were requested to head to the post offices and two bank branches on Wednesday in order to receive payment for their September 2018 salaries.
The Hamas-controlled Ministry of Finance said in a statement that the employees will receive 40% of their September 2018 salaries – a minimum of NIS 1,200 for each one. It called on the beneficiaries of the Qatari grant to head to post offices on Wednesday evening, and to the branches of two banks in the Gaza Strip on Thursday.
The third payment of the Qatari grant – $15m. – was originally supposed to be delivered to the Gaza Strip three weeks ago. However, the payment was delayed due to ongoing tensions along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Earlier, the ministry said that if the third Qatari grant arrives in the Gaza Strip, the employees will receive a payment of 60% of their salaries for September 2018.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.