Hamas Threatens Israel: Qatari Cash or Violence

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip from the fence bordering with Netiv Ha’asara. (Doron Horowitz/Flash90)

Hamas has warned Israel that if the “understandings” between it and Israel were not fully enacted by the end of the week – particularly the understanding in which Israel allows Qatari cash over the border – then trouble could ensue. A report in a Lebanese newspaper Tuesday said that Hamas had given the message to Egyptian interlocutors, to be passed to Israel. Israel has until the end of the week to comply.

The report said that Hamas has been seeking to increase pressure on Israel, to impress upon the government how important the understandings are to the terror group. Besides the transfer of the Qatari cash, the understandings include an expansion of the area Gaza ships can fish off the coast, and an Israeli pledge to allow Friday demonstrations at the Gaza border to proceed. In return, Hamas promised to halt terror attacks against Israel, and to prevent the dispatching of terror balloons at Israel.

By all accounts Hamas has not lived up to its promises; over the weekend, there were three attempts by Gaza terrorists to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks, and there are nearly daily fires caused in Israel by terror balloons. Also over the weekend there were several rocket attacks, with several people injured in an attack on Saturday.

Hamas has denied culpability for all these attacks, saying that it was due to the “frustration” of Gaza residents who are mired in poverty – hence the need for the Qatari money. Israeli officials have countered those claims by saying that most of the money goes to pay for salaries and supplies for Hamas terrorists, and to buy materials that are assembled into rockets to be fired at Israel.

The Qatari ambassador to Gaza, Muhammad al-Amadi, will meet with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to coordinate the cash transfer.

Qatar has pledged to provide Hamas with tens of millions of dollars in order to help the terror group fulfill its economic obligations. He is expected to enter Gaza Thursday with the money, the Lebanese report said.

The report quoted Hamas officials as saying that the attacks over the weekend were not the work of the terror group, but of individuals who took the attacks upon themselves. Those attacks, the officials said, were not in Hamas’s interests, but admitted that because of the tension and poverty in Gaza, such attacks were likely to grow.