Hamas rejects Israeli conditions for Qatari cash transfer

Rejection of the expected $15 million that had been held up by Netanyahu government raises fears of fresh tensions ahead of weekly protests on Friday.

GAZA - Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas said Thursday they would not accept a fresh tranche of Qatari funds, accusing Israel of imposing new conditions on the money entering the blockaded Palestinian territory.

The rejection of the expected $15 million (13.2 million euros) raised fears of fresh tensions along the Gaza separation fence, ahead of weekly protests on Friday.

"We refuse to receive the third Qatari grant in response to the (Israeli) occupation's behaviour and attempts to evade the agreement," Khalil al-Hayya, Hamas's deputy head in Gaza, told journalists.

Al-Hayya did not name specific conditions that were changed, but said Israel was playing politics with the funds ahead of upcoming elections.

Under an informal agreement struck in November, Gulf state Qatar has sent $15 million a month into the strip.

The funds to pay salaries of Hamas employees and support impoverished Gazans are in exchange for relative calm along the fence where often violent protests have taken place since March 2018.

The money has been transferred via Israel.

The third tranche had been expected to enter this week but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked it Tuesday after two shooting incidents along the Gaza fence, including one in which a soldier was lightly injured.

Mohammed al-Emadi, ambassador of the Gulf state to Gaza, met Thursday in the enclave with Hamas officials, including leader Ismail Haniya.

Israeli media reported Thursday that the country's security cabinet had still approved the funds.