Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke about the Gaza Strip during the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, including the IDF strikes conducted overnight in response to the launching of arson balloons on Friday and Shabbos.
Bennett added that that the days of the transfer of “suitcases of dollars” from Qatar to Hamas are over. “We’re working on a solution to enable humanitarian assistance to Gaza residents, but without suitcases of dollars,” he said.
“The suitcases of dollars are something we inherited and need to stop.”
A Palestinian media report on Sunday said that the United Nations had agreed to oversee the disbursement of Qatari funds in the Gaza Strip.
In recent years, Israel has allowed Qatar to give millions of dollars a month directly to Hamas to pay salaries, provide aid to Gaza residents and pay for fuel. This policy was supported by former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former Mossad head Yossi Cohen in order to weaken the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and ensure the stability of the Strip.
Following Operation Guardian of the Walls, the failure of the policy has been recognized and the transfer of Qatari funds to the Strip has not resumed. IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi recommended that funds for the Gaza Strip be transferred through the Palestinian Authority.
Israel is also now insisting that it will not allow funds into the Strip until Hamas releases Israeli captives and the bodies of two IDF soldiers.
Egypt, which serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, is also opposed to the transfer of Qatari funds to Hamas.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)