Jul 23, 2016 – DOHA — Qatar said on Thursday it would give $30 million to help pay the salaries of thousands of Gaza Strip public sector workers left without a full wage package since 2013.
The donation was welcomed by Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates the enclave who said it would help ease the wage shortages — that have tested already strained relations with the US-backed Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank.
There was no immediate comment from Palestinian Authority or Israel, who have long been suspicious of Qatar’s regular donations to Hamas and other Islamist groups across the region.
The emir of the wealthy Gulf state, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, said the payment of 113 million riyals was meant to ‘alleviate suffering and financial distress’, according to Qatar’s state news agency, QNA.
The Hamas-hired public servants have grown restive and in 2014 protested over their lack of payment which is partly due to a continued blockade imposed on Gaza by both Israel and Egypt.
‘The July payment will be made in full immediately once the Qatari financial fund is received,’ Youssef Al Kayyali, Hamas’ deputy finance minister said.
Qatar, which hosts the largest US air base in the Middle East, has for years preserved influence with Islamist forces across the region it believes are the long-term future.
The breadth and resilience of Qatar’s links to Islamist groups including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has suffered a crackdown in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, fuels suspicions in other Gulf states.”
Israeli media has further reported that the Qatar/Hamas deal was approved by Israel as well as the Palestinian Authority. According to a Jerusalem Post report:
July 24, 2016 Qatar coordinated its decision to pay the July salaries of Hamas public sector employees with both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, according to a source speaking to the Palestinian daily newspaper Al-Quds.
“The Qatari emir and foreign minister discussed this issue with President Mahmoud Abbas in their meeting in Doha during Ramadan and President Abbas did not express any opposition, especially since the transfer will take place in an official manner via the Palestinian Authority,” the source said.
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The source added that Doha coordinated the decision with the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai.
“Qatar informed Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordecai and after Israel studied the proposal, it offered its approval,” the source revealed.
As for how the transfer of funds will take place, the source said that a European party will assume responsibility for their delivery from Qatar to Gaza.
The Times of Israel adds that the Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, widely viewed as among the most “hawkish of Israeli politicians, personally “waved through” the Qatari cash infusion:
July 25, 2016…Haniyeh forgot to thank another important apparent benefactor: the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, which has reportedly waved through the Qatari cash infusion. Liberman, who once threatened to have Haniyeh assassinated within 48 hours of becoming defense minister, is understood to have agreed to the transfer of some 113 Saudi riyal ($31 million) to Hamas. Incongruous as it may seem, after less than two months in Tel Aviv’s Kirya military headquarters, Liberman appears to be a changed man, apparently tolerating an initiative that he opposed vehemently only a few years ago, during his stint as foreign minister.
Since at least 2003, criticism of groups that were funding Hamas, even if ostensibly for charitable purposes, was based on the notion of “fungibility”, that money received by Hamas for charitable purposes essentially freed up the same amount of money for terrorist purposes. As a former FBI analyst has written:
In 2003, then Secretary of State E. Anthony Wayne told a congressional committee “if you are funding the organization [Hamas] even if there are many charitable activities going on, there is some fungibility between funds. You are strengthening the organization.” It is precisely this ease and readiness with which which Hamas transfers money from putatively charitable or political funds to military ones that belies any moral separation between the organizations various branches. Hamas’ ability to shift funds across its various ways is critical to its mission, because it facilitates the organization’s most effective means of raising funds for terrorist purposes; through humanitarian channels. The mixing of funds across different Hamas wings also shields the groups terrorist activities under a veil of political and humanitarian legitimacy
By allowing Qatar to transfer a large sum of money to Hamas, the Israel government has pulled the rug out from under those, including this publication, who for many years have criticized Global Muslim Brotherhood charities such as the Union of Good (UOG) and INTERPAL for their funding of Hamas. It is not clear to the GMBDW on what basis such entities or indeed even the Gaza flotilla movement can be now be criticized if they are essentially doing exactly what the Israel government has approved in the deal with Qatar.
The Qatari/Hamas deal comes on top of the “reconciliation” between Turkey and Israel in which Israel once again apologized for the deaths of passengers involved in a violent altercation with Israeli naval forces during the June 2010 Gaza Flotilla incident. Despite the substantial evidence of Turkish government involvement in the planning and preparation for the flotilla, no responsibility appears to have been accepted by Turkey. As we wrote in our post on the Israeli/Turkish agreement, this evidence is fully known by Dore Gold, essentially the Israel Foreign Minister, who headed the organization that commissioned the report on the subject:
As the president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) at that time, Dr. Gold was responsible for the 2011 JCPA report authored by the GMBDW editor titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” which demonstrated that the Global Muslim Brotherhood, including at that time its Turkish components as well as the Turkish government and AKP ruling party, was deeply involved in the planning and preparation leading up to the first Gaza flotilla that was involved in the violent altercation with Israeli naval forces. (In 2011, JCPA also published an article on the role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the unsuccessful second Gaza Flotilla.) Therefore Dr. Gold is aware not only of the Turkish government’s own culpability in the 2010 flotilla but also that since 2006, Turkey has become a new center not only for Hamas but also for the Global Muslim Brotherhood which is implacably opposed to the existence of the Jewish State. Furthermore, the JCPA report detailed Erdogan’s own ideological ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood network, ties which date back to Erdogan’s affiliation with WAMY in the 1970s making it unlikely that he will ever accept the existence of the Israeli state.
As we also wrote in that post:
The GMBDW fails to understand why the Israel government would choose at this time to bolster the Erdogan government as that very same government systematically continues to persecute and imprison more and more journalists and moves ever closer towards one-person rule. There have been suggestions that a potential natural gas pipeline through Turkey to Europe may be one of the motivations but that would simply would allow Turkey under Erdogan to hold Israel economic hostage whenever it chose, further compounding the strategic perils for Israel. Erdogan’s lifelong involvement with Hamas and the Global Muslim Brotherhood strongly suggest that any short-gains arising from a deal with Turkey are highly unlikely to endure and would only serve to bolster both Mr. Erdogan and Hamas. If Turkey under Erdogan is willing to make a deal with Israel, it is a likely a sign of Turkish desperation and an opportunity to hasten Erdogan’s downfall instead of prolonging his rule.
Only two years ago it was being reported:
Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and Egypt are angry with US Secretary of State John Kerry for pushing a cease-fire plan they believe was influenced by Turkey and Qatar. This reaction shows again Ankara and Doha’s unwelcome position in the region because of their unqualified support for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The latest Qatari/Israel deal only adds adds to our confusion as it appears to further strengthen not only Hamas but the Hamas/Turkish/Qatari axis as well and therefore the entire Global Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey has already been involved in a recent aid shipment to Gaza and the Qatari action only enhances the prestige of Qatar, deeply involved in the funding of Global Muslim Brotherhood projects around the world. Perhaps worst of all, and as already noted, the deal strikingly undercuts the efforts of many years to criticize and ultimately halt the flow of funds to Hamas, an effort largely involving the Global Muslim Brotherhood which aims at the destruction of the Israeli state as well as eventually the West itself. The apparent rationale for the Israeli action is the long argued position that engaging with groups such as Hamas is preferable to what are seen as the alternative, namely Al Qaeda and now ISIS despite that Hamas itself shares the same view that the West is the enemy of Islam and despite the political cooperation between Hamas leaders/supporters and designated terrorists, the subject of a forthcoming GMBDR report. In this sense, Israel joins the Obama Administration, the European Union, and a wide variety of other actors severely hampering the efforts to combat the Global Muslim Brotherhood. That Israel should join these ranks is perhaps the greatest surprise to the GMBDW since we started this publication.