Hamas denies reports of Israeli approval of Qatari aid to Gaza

Factions in Gaza reportedly promised to stop launching incendiary and explosive balloons after the funds were approved.

Operations of the Ahfad Al-Nasser balloon unit in the Gaza Strip, June 13, 2020 (photo credit: AHFAD AL-NASSER BALLOON UNIT)
Operations of the Ahfad Al-Nasser balloon unit in the Gaza Strip, June 13, 2020
(photo credit: AHFAD AL-NASSER BALLOON UNIT)
A spokesperson for the Gaza Ministry of Social Development denied reports that Israel has approved the transfer of $50 million from Qatar to the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, referring to the reports as rumors.
The Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper had reported about the $50 million transfer on Monday morning, adding that factions in the Strip promised to stop launching incendiary and explosive balloons after the funds were approved.
The reported approval comes after two weeks of high-level negotiations, according to Al-Akhbar. The funds would go to financial grants to families in need and to fund Qatari projects in the Strip.
Aziza al-Kahlout, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Development, stated on Monday morning that the reports concerning the grant from Qatar were just rumors and that no information had been received in Gaza about the issue. The date of the approved fund transfer has not been specified, according to the report.
Al-Kahlout added that the government would announce once any accurate information about the grant is received.
 
During the February 2019 election campaign for the Hosen L'Yisrael (Israel Resilience) party led by current Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the party attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for allowing the transfer of $15 million every month into Gaza. A campaign ad on the subject promised that the party would not "pay protection to Hamas." The amount approved on Monday is over three times the amount mentioned in the ad.
On Thursday, the Descendants of Nasser (Ahfad Al-Nasser) balloon unit in the Gaza Strip threatened Israel with renewed incendiary and explosive balloon launches, warning that the coming days would be the "beginning of hell" for Israelis who live near the Strip.

 
Videos published by the unit on Thursday warned that they would not stop the launches until they achieved their "goals" and received rights, adding that the unit has "surprises" that Israel "wouldn't imagine." The unit additionally stated at the time that they were awaiting a response to their demands "in the coming hours." The unit did not specify what demands they were referring to.
A series of balloon launches have been reported in the days since the announcement.
Ahmed al-Mudallal, a member of the Commission of the Great March of Return, told Al-Akhbar that the balloon launches were brought back by Gaza youth, not by a decision by the Commission.
Al-Akhbar added that despite the promise to halt the launches, the launches were continuing.
In past incidents earlier this year, reports claimed that the balloon units had agreed to halt balloon launches, despite continued reports of launches.
The launches of incendiary balloons have become more sporadic in recent months, but became more steady in recent days. The last time balloon launches were announced by the balloon units was in late April and, before that, in February. While they had threatened launches before the Knesset elections in March, none were actually reported.
Countless incendiary and explosive balloons have been launched by Gaza's terrorists in recent years. They sometimes have books or toys attached to lure children, and some have sparked large wildfires in the past, mainly damaging crops.
Israel has, in the past, launched strikes against the Strip in response to continued use of the balloons.