Hamas refuses money from Qatar, objects to Israeli conditions

Hamas official indicates that Israel demanded a ban on Gaza border marches as well as a new system of bank payments instead of cash.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Israel confirmed that it approved the transfer of a third payment of $15 million in Qatari funds into the Gaza Strip after an almost two-week delay, but Hamas has refused to accept the money. Israel had postponed the transfer due to escalating attacks from Gaza.

The Israeli approval reportedly came after the security establishment told the political echelon that Hamas was involved in the most recent border violence and that resuming the transfer of the Qatari payments would contribute to a calmer situation.

However, citing conditions placed by Israel, Hamas refused to accept the funds from a Qatari emissary and insisted that “Gaza will not be part of blackmail or a theater for Israeli election festivals.”

“The preconditions that were given by Israel for securing the Qatari payments were unacceptable. We consider this as a breach of the ceasefire agreement and Israel will bear the responsibility for this,” stated Khalil al-Haya, Hamas deputy leader in Gaza, at a news conference.

The Qatari envoy, Mohammad Al-Emadi, met with Hamas officials in the Strip, according to Ma’an, a Palestinian news agency. Al-Haya reportedly told Al-Emadi that Gaza “will not become a pawn in the upcoming Israeli election and that Hamas is refusing to accept the funds because of the conditions set by Israel.

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“We affirm that the March of Return will continue until the Palestinian national rights are achieved,” al-Haya said, indicating that the Israeli conditions included reining in the weekly Friday border protests.

Shortly after the Hamas declaration, the Qatari emissary was reported to be leaving Gaza.

Hamas earlier said it was refusing to accept the payments, expressing to the Qatari emir its “displeasure” at Israel’s failure to deliver the payments on time.

Reports also said that Hamas refused the funds because it objected to the new system of bank payments instead of cash.