Vastavam web: Employees of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip began collecting their salaries for a second month Friday, after Qatar pumped more cash into the territory with Israel’s blessings. It came despite a major flareup between Hamas and Israel that saw Avigdor Lieberman resign as Israel’s defence minister after accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being soft on the Islamist group. Hundreds of employees of Hamas government departments waited in long queues outside banks in the Gaza Strip from the early hours, AFP reporters said. Doaa, a 36-year-old employee at the women’s ministry in Gaza, said she came early in the morning to receive her salary.
“This payment helps us to live our life and meet the needs of our children, even if only a little.” In Qatar’s operation, a total of USD 90 million is to be distributed in six monthly instalments of USD 15 million, according to authorities, primarily to cover salaries of officials working for Hamas. A first tranche of USD 15 million was distributed in November, and the second one was brought into Gaza late Thursday by Qatari ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi, Hamas sources said. But on November 11, Hamas and Israeli undercover troops had a bloody gun battle following a botched Israeli raid in southern Gaza.
In the following days, Hamas fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in response, with the Israeli army striking Hamas targets in Gaza. A ceasefire two days later ended the violence, but Lieberman, who was opposed to the Qatari money transfer, resigned. Hamas has controlled Gaza since pushing out rival faction Fatah in a 2007 near civil war.