Qatari envoy arrives in Gaza Strip in attempt to reach ‘arrangement’ between Israel, Hamas

Hamas says that restored calm on the border is dependent in part on increased aid from Qatar.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Qatar’s official envoy to the Gaza Strip, Dr. Mohammed al-Emadi, is expected to arrive in the coastal enclave Tuesday to discuss what is needed so that another “arrangement” can be made between Israel  and Hamas.

London-based paper Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Monday that Israel’s head of the Southern Command Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi landed in the Qatari capital, where he will meet with overseas leaders of the terrorist organization to negotiate for quiet. Halevi was reportedly accompanied by senior security officials in the Mossad, Shabak and National Security Council.

For the past two weeks, IDF airstrikes have hit Hamas sites in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for hundreds of fires set off by Hamas terrorists launching arson and explosive balloons and rockets at the southern part of the Jewish state. So far, some 280 dunam (69 acres) of mainly brushland has gone up in flames, and a few people have been injured while running to shelters during the rocket attacks.

One of Hamas’ key demands for ceasing its attacks is that Israel allow Qatar to increase the amount of aid it has sent to Gaza for the last two years. Hamas reportedly wants $40 million a month in cash instead of the $30 million it has received since January, for “a pre-determined long-term period of time.”

The money is ostensibly for needy Gaza residents, and Hamas has publicized pictures of happy Gazans waving hundred-dollar bills they received in aid from Doha. In a Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic studies paper published in February, however, Prof. Hillel Frisch wrote that the terrorist organization is getting the lion’s share of the funds.

“At a recent ‘meet the press’ event run by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Development and Social Affairs, a senior official in the ministry, Muhammad Hamada, reported that 268 million shekels’ worth of Qatari money has been disbursed in Gaza so far,” Frisch wrote. Hamada then went on to list “in considerable detail how the money was spent.” This included such items as 100,000 ordinary citizens receiving an average of NIS500 – while 156 families of ‘martyrs’ were paid over NIS7,000 and 257 government officials got just under NIS7,000.

Upon doing all the math, Frisch found that it still added up to just under NIS60 million. This meant, he wrote, that “nearly 80% is unaccounted for.” He posited that it has gone to strengthen Hamas’ capabilities against Israel, as the money could be spent on building more terror tunnels and improving its rocket arsenal.

In an analysis of the Qatari financial pipeline earlier this month in Israel Hayom, Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security research fellow Udi Levi also made the point that Jerusalem is enabling future terror attacks while buying temporary quiet on its border.

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Allowing the aid to reach Hamas, he wrote, is a policy that flatly contradicts Israel’s years-long effort to break the basis of terrorists’ ability to keep fighting Israel.

“Israel was one of the first countries in the world to understand that denying sources of finance to terrorist organizations is a key tool in the war on terror,” he wrote, and it “became a policy mainstay” ever since the days of [former] Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Its successes included its advocacy for “the unprecedented economic campaign against Iran and its nuclear endeavors…. the closing of dozens of charitable association worldwide … the shutting down of financial channels and a long list of clandestine operations” against funding sources for Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.

Moreover, Levi argued, paying bribes in return for quiet does not work in the long run. He cited several examples, including Israel itself, which basically helped establish the Islamist Hamas to create a problem for the Arab nationalist PLO in the 1980s.

“Disastrous results” such as the founding of Al Qaeda and ISIS, he wrote, were also rooted in 40 years of Saudi financing of “the infrastructures of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Sunni terrorist organizations around the world” in order to spread the kingdom’s version of Islam and insure itself against internal troubles.

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Qatar “is neck-deep in financing most Islamist terrorist organizations worldwide,” he wrote, yet “unlike Iran, Qatar has for some reason been granted international immunity.”