According to the Associated Press, Qatar will resume subsidizing the salaries of public employees by sending fuel to the Gaza Strip. The Qatari fuel will be sent to Gaza from Egypt, and Hamas will resell it to help cover its payroll. According to the Hamas administration’s Information Bureau, the terrorist group will be paying those salaries directly next Monday, through banks in the Gaza Strip.
In previous years, the financial capacity of the terrorist organization Hamas covered between 8 and 10 annual salaries to its officials in the Gaza Strip, to the tune of NIS 1,200 ($400). These checks were doled out every 40 to 45 days. But on Thursday, the Hamas government’s Finance Ministry in the Gaza Strip announced across the board raises to all its officials.
Hamas employs about 50,000 civil servants of varying ranks in Gaza, including teachers and doctors.
The increase is expected to run from NIS 1,500 ($500) to NIS 1,800 ($600), depending on the official’s position in government. Israel Hayom did the math and concluded that the raises mean that the amount of the monthly Qatari grant that helps pay the Hamas salaries has gone up to $10 million. The original amount, when Qatar entered the scene to help the Hamas government meet its financial obligations, was estimated at $5 million each month.
PM Naftali Bennett’s office said in September, after the announcement of Israeli contacts with Qatari over the money: “As was officially announced, the Qatari grant to the needy in the Gaza Strip has been regulated by a mechanism in cooperation with the UN, with the grant being transferred in coupons and not in suitcases with cash as has happened in the past.”
However, with the cash now coming directly from the Hamas transactions with Qatari oil, it’s unclear who should issue those promised coupons. In reality, Hamas and no one else are in full control of the money.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz was also fooled, judging by his statement in September claiming that “as part of this policy, we also decided to change and improve Qatar’s humanitarian aid delivery mechanism to the people of the Strip, to make sure that the money goes to those who really need it. For this purpose, I kept in touch with officials in Qatar, who understood the Israeli need and I thank them for that.”
It’s true that before Operation Guardian of the Walls last May, Qatar transferred money to cover Hamas salaries in suitcases full of cash, a practice that the Lapid-Bennett government promised to change. And so, over the summer, Instead of handing out a hundred dollars per family, each family could withdraw cash in shekels in grocery stores, through a UN-controlled mechanism that allowed USD cash to be withdrawn in shekels.
As of next Monday, Hamas will also be capitalizing on an oil windfall that no one – not the UN, and not Israel – can control.