Israel has approved the transfer of $15 million from Qatar to the Gaza Strip. The money is expected to be distributed at the end of the week. An envoy from Qatar, Mohammad Al- Emadi, arrived in Israel on Wednesday to make preparations for the transfer.
The transfer was delayed for more than two weeks following an escalation along Israel’s border with Gaza. Emadi was to have left for Gaza early on Thursday. According to a source involved in discussions of the matter, all security cabinet members except for Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) supported the move. The beginning of the funds transfer was expected to take place on Thursday, but it is to be distributed to officials in Gaza only on Friday afternoon, at the time when protesters gather near the border fence. Israel believes that Hamas would not put the transfer of the funds at risk and will therefore act robustly to prevent violence at the demonstrations.
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The security establishment still considers the situation along the border tense, and any violence could lead to another delay in the transfer, even if Hamas is not responsible for it. Islamic Jihad and other groups object to Hamas’ position that it is better to maintain relative quiet on the border with Israel in exchange for receiving the Qatari aid money.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, had said that Israel would not allow the Qatari money into Gaza following in incident in which an Israeli officer was shot. Fuel trucks funded by Qatar were not blocked and have been going into Gaza on a daily basis.