The move is being seen in part as a way to pressure Hamas to do more to help its people with infrastructure projects.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
Hamas supporter Qatar has decided that it will stop paying for the diesel fuel that runs Gaza’s electric station after April, Kan News reported Monday.
The news, delivered by Qatari envoy Mohammad al-Amadi in a closed-door meeting with Hamas officials, means that the terrorist organization that runs the Strip with an iron fist will have to come up with $10 million a month on its own in order not to leave Gaza in the dark.
According to the report, the move was seen by Palestinian sources as a way for the oil-rich nation to put pressure on its ally to start moving with infrastructure projects that Qatar has supported for years, including the installation of a high-voltage power line from Israel. This would likely double the amount of fuel in Gaza, which suffers from a chronic electricity deficit.
The sum is only five percent of Qatar’s support for Hamas; Doha provided the Gazan rulers with $200 million in 2018 alone for humanitarian aid, fuel and salaries.
In November, Israel began allowing the Qataris to send millions of dollars in suitcases full of cash via the Erez crossing, after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had prevented them from making a transfer from Palestinian banks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was harshly criticized by his political opponents, as well as by some in his own party, for allowing the transfer, as it was seen as akin to “paying off” Hamas to stop its terrorist activities.
A third shipment in January was then refused by Hamas on the grounds that it did not want Gaza to be part of “a theater for Israeli election festivals.” The Qatara envoy announced that the rest of the aid would be given through U.N. aid agencies, and that Doha would no longer fund Hamas employees’ salaries.