As Israel gears for Iranian retaliation against Monday’s attacks, tremors of war around its borders continue to grow.
Since Hamas is recognized by most civilized nations to be a terrorist organization, it has difficulties participating in global money transfer systems such as SWIFT. Additionally, because Hamas uses any and all moneys it receives in the form of foreign aid to develop the means with which to attack its neighbor Israel, Gaza does not produce anything of value and requires infusions of foreign cash to survive. The last round of violence against Israel instigated by Hamas ended with an agreement, brokered by Egypt, that stipulates that in exchange for not harassing Israel, the latter will agree to transfer to Hamas every month fifteen million American dollars in cash provided by Qatar. This arrangement, considered odious by many Israelis because it is tantamount to paying protection money to an extortionist criminal gang, was nevertheless agreed to by the Netanyahu government, eager to avoid pointless conflicts in which the flower of Israeli youth sacrifice their lives on the altar of Hamas’s perfidy.
Since the agreement came into force, Hamas, as is its wont, tried from time to time to ascertain just how much violence it could perpetrate against Israel while still receiving its blood money. Israel, in turn, has several times withheld the payments for a few days. The last installment, due to have been delivered the day before yesterday, was delayed by PM Netanyahu because of sniper fire from inside Gaza that wounded an Israeli officer. Today, however, the money was to be released as requested by Israeli security organs. Surprisingly, in a hitherto unprecedented move, Hamas spokesman informed Israel that Hamas is refusing to accept the money because “it will not be party to the elections theater in Israel”.
It is not clear whether this refusal is part of Iranian preparations for retaliation against Israel after the massive Israeli attacks on its interests in Syria earlier this week, or simply more Hamas histrionics. Since Israel is indeed expecting Iranian retaliation, additional Iron Dome batteries have been deployed in the South and another battery was deployed to the central region to better protect against possible Hezbollah rocket fire from Lebanon.