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Israel drove suitcases stuffed with cash into Gaza to keep Hamas in power: NYT

Published: December 12, 2023 | Print Friendly and PDF
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  • Israel tacitly encouraged Hamas to stay in power, according to the New York Times.
  • In some cases, Israeli support was more obvious.
  • Israeli security forces would help escort millions in funds into Gaza, helping Hamas, NYT reported.

Israeli officials are facing backlash after years of Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu quietly allowing Hamas to remain in power.

But reporting in the New York Times has revealed that Netanyahu's government was more hands-on about helping Hamas: they helped a Qatari diplomat bring suitcases of cash into Gaza, indirectly boosting the militant organization, according to the report.

The calculus — the Times reported on Sunday, citing Israeli officials, Netanyahu's critics, and the man's own reported statements — was to keep Hamas strong enough to counteract the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, allowing Netanyahu to avoid a two-state peace solution and keep both sides weak.

Israeli security officials got it wrong; they didn't think Hamas was capable, or even interested, in launching a large attack against the Jewish state.

To keep Hamas propped up, Netanyahu's government worked with Qatari to keep the money flowing, the New York Times reported. Israel knew that Qatar was supporting Hamas, but didn't oppose the payments and even lobbied American lawmakers not to sanction Qatar.

Israeli security officials would meet with a Qatari diplomat at the border between Israel and Jordan, according to the New York Times report.

They would then drive him past the border crossing and into Gaza, according to the outlet.

Though the money was meant for Gazan civilians, Western intelligence determined that Hamas was taking money from the funds to use themselves, the outlet reported.

The propped-up peace lasted until October 7, when Hamas fighters launched a terror attack across the Israeli border. The militants killed about 1,200 people and took dozens more hostage, Israeli officials said.

Israel has since responded with a massive bombing and ground campaign in Gaza. About 17,000 people in Gaza have been killed, according to Hamas-led Gazan health authorities.

Though a short ceasefire allowed a hostage exchange between Hamas and Israel, the fighting has since continued.

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