The United Arab Emirates is said to have warned Hamas that its planned investments in the Gaza Strip may not move forward if the terror group does not maintain calm in the territory.
In the wake of the Abraham Accords, the UAE has in recent months been in contact with Hamas about various potential infrastructure projects to improve the lives of residents there, the Globes financial newspaper reported on Saturday.
“We are still ready and willing to promote civil projects in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and under UN management [in Gaza], but our necessary condition is calm,” a senior official from the Gulf country told the newspaper.
“If Hamas does not commit to complete calm, it is dooming the residents of the Strip to a life of suffering. Its leaders must understand that their policies are first and foremost hurting the people of Gaza,” the unnamed official added.
The US-brokered Abraham Accords, which led to a normalization between Israel and a number of nations including the UAE, were condemned as “treason” by Palestinian leaders who feared they undercut their demands for a homeland.
In February, the UAE substantially cut back funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees following their normalization with Israel, in possible “revenge” for the Palestinians’ bitter condemnation of the move.
At least one of the projects was said to be related to energy — Palestinians suffer from dilapidated power infrastructure in the enclave, leading to only 16 hours of electricity a day on average.
The situation has worsened since the fighting began, with the enclave down to having just five hours of electricity per day. An Israeli defense official told reporters earlier this week that the Gaza Strip will run out of fuel for its electricity generators by Sunday.
Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired over 2,300 rockets toward Israel since the outbreak of fighting on Monday, according to the Israel Defense Forces.
Palestinian terror groups have tied the escalation in Gaza to the unrest in Jerusalem, connected to the situation on the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the pending eviction of a number of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Ten Israelis, including a young child, have been killed in the rocket fire, and hundreds have been injured.
In turn, Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes in the coastal enclave. The military maintains that the targets it struck are all assets of Hamas or other terror groups.
In Gaza, the toll from the fighting climbed to 145 on Saturday, including dozens of children, with over 1,000 wounded, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
The Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, though Israel says that number is much higher and that dozens of those killed were terrorists. In addition, the IDF says some deaths were caused by errant rockets fired at Israel which fell short of their targets and landed in the Strip.
Agencies contributed to this report.