In the past week, Hamas has been sending Palestinians to the Gaza-Israel border, where they attack IDF soldiers, hurling rocks, Molotov cocktails, and firebombs at them, as they try to breach Israel’s security fence. But the Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh argues that Hamas’ real target is not Israel, but Qatar. More on his analysis can be found here: “Why is Hamas Sending Palestinians to Die at the Border with Israel?,” by Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute,
During the past few days, the Iran-backed Palestinian terror group Hamas has again been encouraging Palestinians living under its rule in the Gaza Strip to march toward the border with Israel and attack Israelis. Similar protests in 2018, also encouraged and sponsored by Hamas, resulted in the death or injury of hundreds of Palestinians.
The Great March of Return took place from March 30, 2018 to December 27, 2019. Tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, took part, marching close to, and attempting to breach, Israel’s security fence. They hurled rocks, Molotov cocktails, and firebombs at the IDF, which used tear gas and stun grenades to keep the marchers away from the security fence, and also, when it appeared the fence was about to be crossed, llve fire as well.
Those anti-Israel protests lasted for [more than] a year and ended without any noticeable achievements for Hamas. Israel agreed to ease some restrictions on the Gaza Strip, such as expanding the fishing zone three miles and allowing more raw material to be imported for civilian factories.
The latest attacks on Israelis by Hamas, however, appear to be less linked to Israel, which has taken a series of measures over the past two years to boost the economy and improve the living conditions of the Palestinians in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Those measures include issuing work permits in Israel for more than 17,000 Palestinians.
Israel has been trying to help the people of Gaza, by increasing the number of work permits, so that now 17,000 Gazans can work in the Jewish state, where they earn three to six times what they would earn — if they could even find jobs — in Gaza.
Hamas is now sending Palestinians to get killed or injured on the border with Israel because it is apparently upset with its friends in Qatar, the Gulf state that has long been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood organization, of which Hamas is an off-shoot. Hamas is evidently taken aback because Qatar has reduced the monthly financial grant it has been providing to the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip over the past five years.
Qatar has been the financial mainstay of Hamas for the last five years. But the Qataris have been questioning the finances of Hamas, and especially the corruption of its leaders. Just two Hamas leaders, Khaled Meshaal and Mousa abu Marzouk, have each amassed fortunes of $2.5 billion. Furthermore, Qatar wants to make sure that its rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and other countries that had severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in 2017 because of its ties to Iran, and instituted a de facto blockade until 2021, continues. Qatar also wants to improve ties with the U.S., which disapproves of Qatar’s support for the terror group Hamas. But the most important reason for Qatari anger with Hamas is the latter’s attempt to repair relations with Syria’s Assad; Qatar remains an implacable enemy of Damascus, and during the civil war has supplied weapons and money to the Syrian opposition.
Here is what is happening. An Arab country (Qatar) decides that it wants to channel fewer funds to a Palestinian terrorist group (Hamas). Hamas, instead of directing its grievances toward Qatar, responds by sending young Palestinian men to throw explosive devices, Molotov cocktails, and stones at Israeli soldiers along the border with the Gaza Strip. Apparently, Hamas is hoping that the “Zionist enemy” (Israel) will come to its rescue by putting pressure on Qatar not to cut the financial grant. With many of its leaders sitting in Doha, Hamas must be rather fearful about coming out in public against Qatar.
Qatar had been giving Hamas $30 million a month. The Hamas terrorist group has not released Qatari aid to Gaza Strip officials, due to an ongoing dispute over the sum of money received, according to Israeli public broadcaster Kan. Hamas is dissatisfied with the decreased amount allocated by Qatar for the payment of civil servants’ salaries, and has been reluctant to release what funds it has received in order to pressure Qatar for more money.
Qatari aid included a transfer of fuel directly to the Gaza power plant, which Qatar bought from an Israeli company and was delivered by Israel. The second part of the package was a sum of money paid directly to families stricken by poverty. It is now the third allocation, which was meant to pay the salaries of Hamas officials in Gaza, that has been held up….
Hamas thinks mobilizing Gazans to march to the security fence In order to attack the IDF will make Israel put pressure on Qatar to resume its full payments to Hamas. But it’s unclear what pressure Israel can apply on Qatar. It’s more likely that Qatar will be even more angered by this use of Gazans as cannon fodder in order that Hamas officials get paid the amounts they think they are entitled to.
Hamas and other terror groups have attempted to portray the renewed protests near the border with Israel as a response to Israeli “provocations,” specifically visits by Jews to the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. However, the visits, which have been taking place for several years, have not affected Muslims’ access to the holy site….
There have been no changes by Israel to the status quo on the Temple Mount, no “provocations.” Jewish visitors still are prohibited from praying, openly or silently, on the Mount. They are still forbidden from bringing Jewish prayerbooks, prayer shawls, and tefillin with them onto the Mount. And there has been no interference by Israel with Muslim access either to Al-Aqsa Mosque or to the Al-Aqsa plaza.
Hamas leaders are doing what they have always done: sacrifice the people they claim to protect, and look out only for the care and feeding of themselves. Every Palestinian now wounded or killed at the border fence is a victim of those leaders’ greed. The Qataris know it, the PA knows it and — thanks to Khaled Abu Toameh’s article — you and I know it as well.