JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas said it would not accept $15 million in humanitarian aid from Qatar just moments after the Israeli government approved its transfer following a nearly three-week delay.
The transfer of the third installment of aid from Qatar was approved by the Cabinet on Thursday afternoon. It had been held up over continued unrest on the border between Israel and Gaza.
On Wednesday, the Security Cabinet met to discuss a possible transfer after recommendations by officials at Israel’s top security agencies, including the military, the Israel Security Agency and the Mossad. The scheduled transfer of the money that day had been canceled on Tuesday after a Gaza sniper shot an Israeli soldier in the head. The soldier was injured; his life was saved by his helmet.
But the defense establishment said that Islamic Jihad was responsible for the shooting and not Hamas, which runs Gaza and would distribute the aid money.
On Thursday, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, Khalil al-Haya, said after the approval was announced that Hamas would not accept the money, citing Israel’s “hesitation and blackmailing.” Hamas informed Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Amadi, who was in Israel on Wednesday and called for the money to be transferred by the end of the week, of its decision.