Paying Hamas salaries is extortion — Bennett

Paying the salaries of Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip is tantamount to a protection racket in which Hamas extorts Israel in return for agreeing to stop rocket fire, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says.

In a post on his official Facebook page, Bennett reacts to reports that Israel may agree to pay the salaries of Hamas bureaucrats in exchange for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, saying the Palestinian demand to transfer money was a form of extortion.

“Let’s tell the truth: The money will be handed to the terrorists who dig [tunnels] under us, to rocket manufacturers and those who shoot at us,” Bennett says.

“It’s actually a diplomatic protection racket: pay us — and we’ll shoot at you later. Don’t pay us — and we’ll shoot at you now,” he says. “We can’t fight Hamas while funding it at the same time.”

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