Ministers to review new plan for allowing Qatari funds into Gaza — report

Channel 12 says proposal would see $30 million enter each month through UN, banks and work programs, while ensuring money does not go to Hamas

Palestinians receive financial aid payments from Qatar at a post office in Gaza City, on June 27, 2020. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)
Palestinians receive financial aid payments from Qatar at a post office in Gaza City, on June 27, 2020. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Ministers in the high-level security cabinet are set to be presented on Sunday with a new Israeli proposal that will allow Qatari funds into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Channel 12 news reported Saturday.

The plan, aimed at enabling aid to reach Gaza without enriching the Hamas terror organization, reportedly calls for Qatar to send $30 million to the Strip each month.

Of that amount, $10 million will be transferred via the United Nations and go toward fuel purchases; another $10 million will go toward assistance for families through Gaza’s postal bank (after affirming that those families have no ties to terror); and the final $10 million will be put toward a cash-for-work program.

The report did not clarify how Israel will ensure that none of the money is used for terror purposes.

The proposal was put together in coordination with Egypt, according to the network. Cairo has been brokering long-term truce talks between Israel and Hamas following 11 days of fighting in May between the Israeli military and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza.

An official familiar with the negotiations told The Times of Israel this week that Israel had notified Egyptian mediators that it will no longer allow the entrance of unmonitored Qatari cash into the Strip, as had previously been done.

Palestinians receive financial aid from Qatar at a post office in Gaza City, on November 27, 2019. (Hassan Jedi/Flash90)

A Kan news report earlier this month said Israel is seeking to recruit new donor countries willing to funnel cash into Gaza, in order to keep a potential humanitarian crisis in the enclave from snowballing out of control.

Among the countries that have been approached are Germany and a second unnamed European country, an Israeli source told the network.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has in the past been a harsh critic of Israel allowing the Qatari cash infusions into the Strip, calling it “protection money” in 2018. However, the payments continued while he was defense minister in 2019.

A Palestinian newspaper report Sunday suggested that the United Nations had agreed to take responsibility for the disbursement of Qatari funds in the Strip.

Quoting unnamed Palestinian sources, the Al-Quds daily said Israel was on board with the move, as long as the flow of the money was monitored to ensure it was not diverted to Hamas.

Sources close to Hamas were quoted saying the terror group had no objections to such a step, as long as the cash is distributed.

The Qatari cash handouts have been frozen since the 11-day military conflict between the Israeli military and Gaza-based terrorists in May, some two weeks before Bennett took office. Israel has refused to allow the money into the Strip until Hamas releases two civilians and two bodies of IDF soldiers that it has been holding captive.

Israel has also insisted, along with Egypt, that a new mechanism be put in place to ensure the money does not go to Hamas.

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