Hamas leaders and Abbas’ archenemy Mohammed Dahlan met in Cairo last Friday with Egyptian officials on how to comply and pay Hamas’ blackmail of monthly payments of $15 million in cash to counter Abbas’ ending of electricity funding for the strip and his stopping salaries of ‘state employees’ in Gaza.
In a scene reminiscent of a mafia movie, a vehicle with three suitcases stuffed with $15 million in cash passed through the Erez crossing on Thursday.
News of the transaction was reported by KAN News, which showed a photo of the three suitcases on the back seat of a vehicle.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories had no immediate response to the report.
The money was given to Hamas by Qatar. The chairman of the Qatari committee for the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, entered Gaza with the cash. The funds could only have entered Gaza with Israel’s approval. The funds are designated to pay civil servant salaries. The PA has halted those payments as part of strict economic sanctions, which it has imposed on the Gaza Strip in its bid to wrest control of Gaza from Hamas. The terror group has forcibly ruled Gaza since it ousted Fatah in a bloody coup in 2007.
Hamas demanded funds to pay civil servant salaries as one of the conditions that would need to be met in order to halt violent riots along the border and the launching of incendiary devices into Gaza.
Netanyahu said that he had no intention of using Israeli funds to bribe Hamas. But the UN and Egypt, which have worked intensely to restore calm, have explored the option of Qatari funds to pay civil servant salaries in order to quell domestic unrest.
Opposition leader MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) noted that this was an apt ending to a day that began with news of indictments against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s associates in a bribery case and ended with suitcases of cash for a terror group who has sworn to destroy Israel.
The suitcases could only have gone in with Netanyahu’s approval, she said. The prime minister “has sold out [our] security to his associates and has purchased temporary quiet from Hamas,” she added “Netanyahu has to go.”
Separately on Thursday, the IDF shot and killed a Palestinian whom the military said sabotaged the Gaza border fence. His death brought the number of Gazans killed at the border to 220, since protests began there seven months ago, according to Gazan officials. Last July, an Israeli soldier was also killed by a Palestinian sniper.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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