Progress on Cash Payments to Gaza Needy

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinians arrive to receive cash dole from Qatar to poor families, at a post office in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, in February. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Progress was reported on Tuesday in negotiations for resumption of Qatari aid to poor families in Gaza, though details remain to be worked out to prevent it from being put to terror use by Hamas, The Jerusalem Post reported.

A source in Hamas claimed that the money, earmarked for over 100,000 families in Gaza would be delivered in the coming days, via the U.N.

But the mode of payment hasn’t been decided on yet, according to a source close to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Payment of salaries to employees of the Hamas-controlled government in Gaza also has yet to be resolved.

One reason for the delay, the source said, is that Israel insists on a clear paper trail, to ensure that the funds are not siphoned off to terrorist activities.

“It won’t be foolproof, but we want to be able to track what [Hamas is] doing with the money,” he said.

The firing of rockets into southern Israel on Monday afternoon after threats of war also did not help matters.

“I don’t think it’ll change our behavior… When they try to fire things up, we have to figure out how to respond…Every time they do that, they have to pay a price, and we can’t move forward [with channeling aid into Gaza] right after.”

Israel and the U.N. also have other, more urgent matters, on its agenda.

“For [Hamas, aid] is the most pressing thing. Our main focus right now is on coronavirus. We can’t move at razor speed on this issue. The Americans, the U.N. and lots of other people are also preoccupied with Afghanistan and other things.”

In Ramallah, a Palestinian Authority official said that Qatar and the U.N. have apparently reached agreement on the disbursement of the funds.

“The Palestinian Authority is aware of the negotiations to find a solution to the problem,” the official said. “We had offered to transfer the money through the Palestinian banks,” but they wouldn’t get involved for fear of exposure to lawsuits on the grounds of funding terrorism.