Hamas workers collect salaries as Qatar injects more cash into Gaza

Second $15 million installment, transferred with Israel’s approval, arrives in enclave; employees line up to get paid

A Palestinian man shows his money after receiving his salary in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, November 9, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)
A Palestinian man shows his money after receiving his salary in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, November 9, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Employees of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip began collecting their salaries for a second month Friday, after Qatar pumped more cash into the territory with Israel’s blessings.

It came despite a major flareup between the Gaza terrorist organization and Israel that saw Avigdor Liberman resign as Israel’s defense minister after accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being soft on the terror group.

Hundreds of employees of Hamas government departments waited in long lines outside banks in the Gaza Strip from the early hours.

The Hamas-run finance ministry announced in a statement to local media that the money would be distributed over the next two days, with employees receiving 50 percent of their salaries.

Doaa, a 36-year-old employee at the women’s ministry in Gaza, said she came early in the morning to receive her salary.

A Palestinian woman counts her money after receiving her salary in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip November 9, 2018. (Said Khatib/AFP)

“This payment helps us to live our life and meet the needs of our children, even if only a little.”

In Qatar’s operation, a total of $90 million is to be distributed in six monthly installments of $15 million, according to authorities, primarily to cover salaries of officials working for Hamas.

A first tranche of $15 million was distributed in November, and the second one was brought into Gaza late Thursday by Qatari ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi, Hamas sources said.

The Qatar envoy to Gaza also met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The Qatari cash injection is part of an unofficial truce between Hamas and Israel that was supposed to see an end to months of violent protests along the Gaza-Israel border in exchange for an easing of Israel’s blockade of the coastal enclave. Israel maintains the blockade to prevent weapons smuggling by Hamas and other terror groups sworn to Israel’s destruction.

On November 11, Hamas and Israeli undercover troops engaged in a bloody gun battle after an Israeli raid in southern Gaza went awry. An Israeli officer and seven Hamas fighters were killed in the firefight.

In the following days, Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel, with the Israeli army retaliating with strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.

A ceasefire two days later ended the violence, but Liberman, who was opposed to the Qatari money transfer and Egypt-brokered truce, resigned. Other right-wing ministers also criticized the Israel-approved money transfers to Hamas, a terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destruction.

A senior Israeli official on Thursday defended the move, saying it was designed to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Hamas has controlled Gaza since pushing out rival faction Fatah in a 2007 near-civil war.

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