PA Official: Qatari Cash Ruining Unity Deal With Hamas

Hamas security officers stand guard in front of the main gate of the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Rumors of an imminent final agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were premature, a PA official told Kan News in an interview. In a separate interview, a Hamas spokesperson confirmed that, but added that it would not influence the terror group’s relationship with Israel in any way.

According to the PA official, the gap between Hamas and the Authority is too great to be bridged by the agreement worked out by Egypt, which has been brokering the deal between the Gaza terror group and Ramallah. The latter has been demanding that Hamas surrender military authority of the Strip, putting the PA officially in charge, a demand Hamas has resisted. Reports earlier this week that Hamas had changed its position were incorrect, both the Fatah and Hamas interlocutors told Kan News.

As a result of the breakdown of the deal, Fatah has retracted its assent for the transfer of millions of dollars in cash to Hamas. The second shipment of $15 million is supposed to enter Gaza in the coming days, with the money again supplied by Qatar, as it was in the first transfer several weeks ago. Egypt had negotiated that transfer as well, making it a part of the overall deal, with a total of $90 million to be transferred to Hamas to pay the salaries of terrorists and stipends to families with members in Israeli prisons.

That cash transfer, the PA official said in the interview, was supposed to be conditioned on the return of the PA to Gaza in some capacity – but it seems to have had the opposite effect. “Hamas refuses to surrender the security aspect of Gaza to us, and to allow us to run the checkpoints,” the PA official said, adding that the transfer of the money to Hamas – instead of giving it to the PA for distribution – was a big part of the problem. “The most they are willing to consider is a joint government, which would leave them in charge. They have backtracked on all the previous things they agreed to.”

Thanks in part to the cash transfers, “Hamas feels strong now and sees no reason for compromise,” he added.

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