UN to play role in new method of transferring Qatari money to Gaza — report

Suitcases of cash will no longer enter enclave, report says; Israel security cabinet to meet for 1st time, reportedly to approve plans for possible fighting with Gaza terror groups

Palestinians receive financial aid from Qatar at a post office in Gaza City, June 20, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Palestinians receive financial aid from Qatar at a post office in Gaza City, June 20, 2019. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

The United Nations will play a role in a new agreed-upon mechanism to facilitate the transfer of Qatari money to Gaza, a report said Saturday.

The unsourced report by Channel 12 news said that the Palestinian Authority would not be involved in the transfer of the cash and that it would instead be done via the UN.

Additionally, the report said the money will not be transferred in suitcases of cash, as was done in the past, and instead will reach the enclave using “other means,” without giving further details.

Shortly after a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas terror group came into effect last month after 11 days of fighting, Qatar announced that it would provide $500 million for Gaza’s reconstruction.

In recent years, Qatar has with Israel’s approval distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to enable Gaza’s Hamas rulers to pay for fuel for the Strip’s power plant, pay civil servants, and provide aid to tens of thousands of impoverished families. The Gulf state had already pledged $360 million in aid to Gaza at the beginning of the year.

However, the payment of millions of dollars has not been transferred since last month’s conflict, with Israel refusing to allow the money into the Strip until the terror group releases two civilians and two bodies of IDF soldiers that it has been holding captive.

Clockwise from top left: Oron Shaul, Avera Mengistu, Hadar Goldin and Hisham al-Sayed (Flash 90/Courtesy)

Egypt also opposed restarting the Qatari payments, insisting that a new mechanism be used to transfer them to Gaza so that they do not reach Hamas.

Qatar rejects frequent accusations that the money goes to terror groups in the enclave, saying Israel knows how the money is distributed.

Hamas has reportedly been frustrated by the delays in receiving the latest installations of aid, a factor said to have contributed to the renewal of the terror group’s balloon-borne arson attacks.

Firefighters try to extinguish a blaze in southern Israel that was sparked by a balloon-borne incendiary device launched by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, June 15, 2021. (Flash90)

Meanwhile, the high-level security cabinet of the new government was slated to meet for the first time on Sunday to reportedly approve operational plans for a possible resumption of hostilities in the Gaza Strip.

Channel 13 news reported that the plans had been hammered out by IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz on the understanding that the fighting in Gaza may not yet be over and that preparations should be made for possible further rounds of violence.

The meeting comes after Israel carried out retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza last week following balloon-borne arson attacks from the coastal enclave. The most recent strikes on Thursday night were far greater and more forceful than those launched earlier this week in response to similar airborne attacks from the Strip and appeared to be the most significant retaliation by Israel to incendiary balloons in the three years since Palestinian terrorists began using the tactic.

Masked Palestinian members of the Islamic Jihad terror group launch incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel on June 15, 2021. (Atia Mohammed/FLASH90)

In the wake of the strikes, a senior member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad said Saturday that Gaza terror groups have sent a message to Egyptian mediators warning of a violent response if Israel continues to carry out strikes on the Strip in response to the attacks that have burned crops and open land in southern Israel.

Khader Habib told the Al Ayam newspaper that if the retaliatory strikes continue, as well as the blockade on the Strip that Israel says is necessary to prevent terror groups from building up military capabilities, “the [terror] organizations will respond in a similar fashion.”

“We will not allow the Israeli government to impose its conditions on the resistance or isolate Gaza,” Habib said, according to the Kan public broadcaster, adding that the terror groups have already formulated a plan if Israel continues its actions.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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