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Hamas: more violence if Qatari funds not transferred

The Islamist Hamas organization is threatening to escalate violence against Israel unless it immediately transfers funds donated by Qatar to the Gaza Strip, declaratively earmarked for humanitarian purposes.

A Hamas official noted on condition of anonymity that leaders of what he called “resistance factions” agreed during a meeting in Gaza yesterday to “ignite” the situation as a pressure method, both figuratively and literally, by resuming the launching of incendiary and explosive-rigged balloons into Israel combined with demonstrations along the security fence.

Terrorist factions in Gaza yesterday pressed mediators to push Israel to “lift the siege on Gaza and end the issue of its reconstruction,” proclaiming they would “not sit idly by in the face of [Israel’s] procrastination.”

Israel is not opposed to coordinating the transfer of Qatari assistance. The new government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is enforcing new restrictions, however, which have infuriated Hamas.

The previous administration of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu permitted a Qatari envoy to personally deliver suitcases of cash to the Gaza-rulers. The Bennett government, however, insists that all humanitarian assistance to the Strip be deposited into designated Palestinian Authority (PA) bank accounts of respective governmental ministries, that are subject to more stringent monitoring.

Jerusalem officials believe that a solution will be found to the issue as early as next week, following a slated visit by an Israeli delegation to Cairo.

Qatar has spent $1.4 billion on rebuilding the Gaza Strip since 2012, Doha’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani reportedly revealed at a financial conference held in Russia on 4 June.