Hamas: Pay Us $15M, or We’ll Riot Again

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian rioters burn tires at a violent demonstration near the Israel-Gaza border, east of Rafah City, southern Gaza Strip, on Friday. (Abed Rahim Khatib/ Flash90)

After a weekend in which Israel absorbed dozens of rockets fired by Gaza Arab terrorists, a ceasefire was put in place Motzoei Shabbos, allowing residents of the south to return to their regular schedules. And if Israel wants that ceasefire to continue, Hamas Gaza head Yahya Sinwar said, it needs to fork over some cash.

Hamas is demanding a payment of $15 million a month, to be paid to it by Qatar. Israel is required to allow this money to enter Gaza. If it does not, Hamas will again ramp up rioting and rocket attacks, Sinwar said. The money is required to pay the salaries of Hamas employees, including members of its terror units, he said.

Israel was targeted with at least 40 rockets overnight Friday through Shabbos afternoon. The Iron Dome missile defense system shot down at least 17 of the incoming Hamas rockets, with two falling inside Gaza. The Red Alert early warning system sounded in communities in the Negev 37 times throughout the night Friday. Six people were treated for shock at hospitals in Ashkelon and Be’er Sheva. The Homefront Command issued restrictions on public gatherings in the Gaza border area.

In a statement, the IDF spokesperson attributed the rocket attacks to Islamic Jihad, but said that the IDF considers Hamas responsible for everything that happens in Gaza. “We consider the attacks on Israeli towns overnight Friday as very serious incidents. The attacks were conducted in an atmosphere of terror that Hamas has fostered. The IDF will act with determination to prevent any attacks from Gaza, and we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Commenting on the Hamas demand, Zionist Camp MK and member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin said that “all the months that Hamas has been attacking we have been talking about Israelis being held hostage in the Gaza border area. Now we are moving to the stage where this is an actual fact, as Hamas is demanding ransom from Israel. After concluding a ‘successful’ round of negotiations with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Hamas understands the balance of power here, and is moving to actual extortion, without apologies. We must reject this dangerous demand and find a way to restore the supplying of resources via the Palestinian Authority.”