Netanyahu calls accusation that he bolstered Hamas a ‘big lie’

‘Gaza was on the brink of collapse…Bibi saved them. Bibi made a deal with Qatar and they started to move millions and millions of dollars into Gaza.’

In an interview with Bild deputy editor Paul Ronzheimer, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu sounded off at critics who allege he implemented a “divide and conquer” strategy to intentionally build up Hamas and foster a rivalry with the Palestinian Authority.

The Prime Minister’s opponents, however, claim that he allowed Qatar to fund Hamas to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars so they would become rivals with the PA and the two sides would be preoccupied with fighting each other instead of joining forces against Israel.

Netanyahu vehemently denied the accusation.

“It’s a big lie that I wanted to build [up] Hamas. Ridiculous,” Netanyahu said in an interview published by Politico on Tuesday.

“You don’t go to war three times with Hamas or do major military operations if you want to build up Hamas.”

However, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says otherwise, “In the last 15 years, Israel did everything to downgrade the Palestinian Authority and to boost Hamas.”

Olmert continued, saying “Gaza was on the brink of collapse because they had no resources, they had no money, and the PA refused to give Hamas any money.”

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“Bibi saved them. Bibi made a deal with Qatar and they started to move millions and millions of dollars into Gaza.”

Netanyahu’s own words were used to bolster Olmert’s assessment. In 2019, at a Likud Party conference, Netanyahu said, “Anyone who wants to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian State needs to support strengthening Hamas.”

The Prime Minister did, however, admit that he gave aid to Gaza through Qatar, but only to prevent a humanitarian crisis, not to strengthen Hamas’ government and military.”

Netanyahu said, “We wanted to avoid a civilian humanitarian collapse — disease, rampant hunger, and other things that would have created an impossible humanitarian situation.”

Regarding Hamas’s government, however, Netanyahu insisted, “We wanted to weaken it and degrade its capabilities as far as we could.”