After months without any money, Hamas has mysteriously obtained millions to pay its employees in Gaza. The The Times of Israel reports:
Hamas has managed to inject millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip to pay the salaries of thousands of workers, a Gaza-based news agency reported on Sunday, after two months in which no such payments were made.According to the Palestinian Sawa news, salaries were given to all members of Hamas’s military wing, and the salaries of government officials in the Strip were expected to be paid as well. It is unclear how Hamas managed to transfer the money into the Strip or whether the move was intended to quell unrest in the Palestinian enclave, thus paving the way for a ceasefire.Payment of the salaries has been one of the key demands by Hamas for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict with Israel.
There are not that many candidates for the source of the money, as many Arab nations have tacitly sided with Israel in this conflict. Hamas’s most prominent remaining friends are Qatar and Turkey, with the former more likely the donor than the latter.It’s notable that in July, the U.S. blocked a Qatari transfer of funds to Hamas. If it was Qatar, and the United States chose to look the other way this time, it could be that the outlines of some kind of agreement are taking shape. The Israelis have increasingly become concerned that their success in Gaza could lead to a total collapse of civil authority if Hamas splinters and there’s nothing to take its place. Given the depletion of Hamas’s rocket stockpile and Egypt’s continued stranglehold on cross-Sinai trade, this latest development could create peace conditions acceptable to the Israelis: a militarily neutered Hamas with the money to pay its people could maintain some sort of order in Gaza.A weakened Hamas retaining power is a compromise that might be acceptable to Israel. But will it work for Israel’s silent partner, Egypt? Cairo has a bigger agenda vis-a-vis crushing potential allies of its own Muslim Brotherhood. Also, Egyptian security forces in Sinai have lost hundreds of men to battles with terrorists in the last year, at least some of which they blame on Hamas. Egypt, therefore, might be less willing to compromise with Hamas even than Israel. That strange new alliance has determined the course of this war so far, and is worth keeping an eye on more than ever as events, possibly, move toward peace.