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Can Qatar help Hamas without embarrassing Netanyahu?

The Qatari emissary asked the Hamas leadership to give him and Israel time to come up with creative ways to transfer the Gaza aid money without causing public opinion in Israel to explode.
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It was entirely foreseeable. The heads of Israel’s defense establishment believe that Qatar’s financial grant to Gaza played a major role in preventing an armed conflict between Israel and Hamas, but now the third installment of that grant is at risk. As of Jan. 8, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given an order that the money is not to be transferred to the Gaza Strip, and Hamas is once again threatening Israel.

Even at the time of the first installment in November 2018, Netanyahu was forced to push back against sharp criticism from members of the coalition and the opposition. They claimed that he had succumbed to Hamas. Minister Naftali Bennett said that Israel was paying “protection money” to a terrorist organization, which endangered Israel. In fact, the Qatari payment was one of the major factors that threatened his government’s stability. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman left the coalition over it, claiming that Israeli policy with regard to Gaza was too “lax.” Liberman already understood what Netanyahu was trying to suppress: There is no way to argue that Hamas is a terrorist organization, which invests its resources in digging terror tunnels and improving its military capacities, if you transfer suitcases stuffed with money to it through the Erez crossing.

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