Qatar pressed Hamas not to launch rockets during World Cup

Doha also wants Palestinian Islamic Jihad to remain quiet so as not to distract attention from the games it’s hosting; one missile fired Saturday night.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Qatar pressed Hamas before the World Cup began not to launch rockets at Israel during the games so as not to distract attention from the month-long global event it is currently hosting, Kan 11 News reported Friday.

As Elior Levy put it during his report, Qatar “is the Gaza Strip’s ATM machine,” and “has been putting very heavy pressure since the beginning of this tournament that there should be quiet there.”

Doha’s representative in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, gave the message “behind the scenes” to the terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip when he went there publicly to “supposedly watch the games with the Gazans in a show of respect to them,” Levy said.

According to the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Qatar indirectly funds Hamas to the tune of $10 million per month by buying fuel from Egypt that is then transferred to Hamas, which sells it and pockets the profits. The Al-Ayyam newspaper reported early this year that another $10 million goes monthly to pay the salaries of Hamas public servants, and a third $10 million allotment goes to help poor families in the coastal enclave, for a total of at least $360 million per year.

Through its Committee for the Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, which al-Emadi heads, Qatar has also rebuilt several neighborhoods that were destroyed during IDF airstrikes aimed at munition sites, rocket launchers and command-and-control centers that Hamas intentionally places in civilian areas in an attempt to prevent Israeli counter-terror operations.

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Overall, Doha has reportedly given some $5 billion to Gaza throughout the years.

According to the report, the Qatari representative is also trying to reach out to Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), the direct Iranian proxy terrorist proxy over which it has less sway, to “lower the tension and pressure” so that quiet could be maintained until the end of the games on December 18.

Doha’s request may have been accepted, as following the IDF’s elimination Wednesday of a senior PIJ commander in Jenin, the group allegedly fired only one rocket at Israel’s south Saturday night. Although warning sirens sounded in two Gaza envelope kibbutzim, it caused no injuries or damage and did not even require the activation of the Iron Dome defense system since it landed in an unpopulated area.

This came only two days after PIJ spokesman Tariq Ezz El Din warned that “the massacre committed by Israel against our people and our resistance fighters in the Jenin camp … will not go unnoticed, and this criminal occupier will pay the price for his heinous crime.”

The news channel had reported Thursday that Hamas itself was putting pressure on its smaller rival not to revenge itself from Gaza but rather try to hit at Israeli targets from Judea and Samaria so as not to incur damage to itself from the inevitable IDF reaction.

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In response to the attack, following its policy of holding Hamas responsible for any hostile action emanating from Gaza, Israeli jets bombed what the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit called a main Hamas rocket manufacturing site overnight Saturday, as well as a terror tunnel. When two rockets were fired at its planes, the IDF responded by hitting one of the terrorist organization’s military positions.