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Hamas turns down Qatari funds over Israel’s change of conditions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Palestinian government employee receives a portion of her overdue salary at a post office in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 8, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The Palestinian Islamic resistance movement, Hamas, says it would not accept a fresh tranche of Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip after the Israeli regime blocked its delivery over unrest along the border between the besieged costal enclave and the occupied territories.

“We refuse to receive the third Qatari grant in response to the (Israeli) Occupation's behavior and attempts to evade the agreement,” the deputy Hamas leader in Gaza, Khalil al-Hayya, told journalists on Thursday.

Hayya did not elaborate on the specific conditions that were changed, but said Israel was playing politics with the funds ahead of upcoming legislative elections, which will be held on April 9.

Qatar has delivered $15 million a month into the Gaza Strip under an informal agreement struck in November. The funds to pay salaries of Hamas employees and support impoverished Gazans are in exchange for relative calm along the border fence between the strip and the Israeli-occupied land.

Palestinian protesters run away from teargas canisters during clashes with Israeli forces across the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the occupied territories, following a demonstration east of Gaza City on January 18, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

The third tranche had been expected to enter this week but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blocked it on Tuesday after an Israeli soldier was slightly injured near the fence.

Later in the day, at least one Palestinian was killed while four others were injured as Israeli forces shelled the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians have held weekly protests on the Gaza border, over the siege of the enclave and the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.

Palestinians lift up an injured protester during clashes with Israeli forces following a demonstration along the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the occupied territories east of Gaza City on January 11, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Nearly 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces ever since anti-occupation protest rallies began in the Gaza Strip on March 30, 2018. Over 26,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14 last year, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

On June 13, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, sponsored by Turkey and Algeria, condemning Israel for Palestinian civilian deaths in the Gaza Strip.

The resolution, which had been put forward on behalf of Arab and Muslim countries, garnered a strong majority of 120 votes in the 193-member assembly, with 8 votes against and 45 abstentions.

This picture taken on January 11, 2019 shows a view of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces across the fence separating the Gaza Strip from the occupied territories, following a demonstration east of Gaza City, with teargas fumes erupting amidst the protesters. (Photo by AFP)

The resolution called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to make proposals within 60 days “on ways and means for ensuring the safety, protection, and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation,” including “recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.”

It also called for “immediate steps towards ending the closure and the restrictions imposed by Israel on movement and access into and out of the Gaza Strip.”

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