Over $1.1bn reached Gaza from Qatar with Israeli govt’s approval: report

Over $1.1bn reached Gaza from Qatar with Israeli govt’s approval: report

Washington: The US and Israeli media reported that Israel approved the transfer of more than $1 billion from Qatar to Gaza, even though there were intelligence warnings that the group was planning large-scale attacks into Israel.

The New York Times, CNN and Haaretz reported that from 2012 to 2018, more than $1.1bn reached Gaza from Qatar, with the Israeli government’s approval.

Last year Qatar gave Gaza $200 million for aid, fuel and government salaries — and could provide hundreds of millions more this year, the reports claimed.

The information on the money was collected by an international organisation and was presented to the Israeli security cabinet in January.

NYT report claims Israel hoped money would enable group to ‘establish order’ in Gaza, reduce pressure to create a Palestinian state

“Since the Oct 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Gulf state of Qatar has come under fire by Israeli officials, American politicians and media outlets for sending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Gaza, which is governed by the Palestinian militant group,” CNN pointed out.

“But all that happened with Israel’s blessing.”

In a series of interviews with key Israeli players conducted in collaboration with Israeli investigative journalism organisation Shomrim, CNN was told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued the cash flow to Hamas despite concerns raised from within his own government.

The New York Times noted the Israeli government allowed the payments because it hoped the money would help Hamas maintain order in the Gaza Strip and reduce political pressure to create a Palestinian state.

The reports also claimed that the Israeli government and Hamas agreed to a brief ceasefire in Gaza to allow for the release of 50 Israeli prisoners. The ceasefire deal allowed aid into Gaza, but conditions there remain dire.

Qatar has denied that the money was misused, and the Israeli government has rejected the suggestion that it allowed aid to Hamas as “ridiculous”.

The report outlined a series of decisions made by the Israeli government, particularly under Mr Netanyahu, regarding financial aid from Qatar to the Gaza Strip.

The payments from Qatar were intended for humanitarian purposes, but were now being scrutinised for their possible role in supporting Hamas military operations, the report added.

The NYT also touched on the political motivations behind these decisions, with critics accusing Mr Netanyahu of a strategy to “buy quiet” and avoid addressing the underlying issues with Hamas and Palestinian discontent.

According to the report, the Qatari government funnelled millions of dollars monthly into the Gaza Strip over the years, bolstering the Hamas government. Mr Netanyahu not only tolerated but actively endorsed these payments. During secret talks in September, Mossad chief David Barnea affirmed Israel’s desire for the payments to continue.

Mr Netanyahu gambled on this financial support, aiming to maintain peace in Gaza and steer Hamas toward governance rather than conflict. The substantial Qatari funds, though officially clandestine, were widely known and debated in Israeli media, criticised by opponents as a strategy of “buying quiet”.