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Qatar transferred $15 to Gaza through Israel on Thursday, sources in Gaza told Ynet News.
As a result of the transfer, the salaries of Hamas officials will be paid on Friday. This is the second round of Qatari funds sent to Gaza, with Israel’s agreement.
“The heavy rain currently falling on Israel won’t wash away the shame of paying protection money to Hamas,” MK Oded Forer (Yisrael Beiteinu) responded to the report. “All the ministers, who share a common responsibility for this disgrace, are holding on tightly to their chairs and prefer to betray everything they believe in and allow the transfer of funds to a terrorist organization.”
“Mr. Prime Minister, you yourself said that money doesn’t stop terror,” MK Haim Jelin (Yesh Atid) said. “So how do you allow the Qatari money to go through? It’s protection money sponsored by the state of Israel.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had defended the decision to permit Qatar to pay the salaries of thousands of civil servants in Gaza early in November as “the right step.”
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 at the time. “These things were done, under certain conditions, in order to prevent a humanitarian crisis.”
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 Islamist organization 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.”
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.
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