An Egyptian sheikh living in Qatar has given Hamas $21 million to buy buildings in eastern Jerusalem, where the outlawed terrorist organization as well as the Palestinian Authority are trying to establish a power base, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Yuval Diskin director told the Cabinet Sunday.
He also informed ministers that Hamas officials have indicated an interest in teaming up with the Fatah-led PA, which also is trying to strengthen its presence in the city. Diskin also revealed that the PA, headed by Mahmoud Abbas, is trying to locate and prevent Arabs from renting their houses to Jews, especially in the Old City. The PA also is trying to buy properties eastern Jerusalem.
The money from Sheik Yusef al-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood senior cleric who lives in Qatar, is being used by Hamas to buy buildings for its re-activated social welfare groups that operate under the guise of “charities.”
Diskin explained to the Cabinet that Hamas is exploiting what it sees as a weak Israeli policy and is considering cooperating with its arch-rival Fatah.
PA and Hamas never stopped their activities but they were less in recent years until now, he added. “Public statements of senior Hamas officials testify the efforts they are interested in a solution to the dispute in exchange for a long-term ceasefire” between Hamas and Fatah.
There would be no change in Hamas ideology, but cooperation would take Hamas out of diplomatic isolation.
The head of domestic intelligence noted that Israel continues to allow the transfer to the PA tax revenues it collects, although most of it is goes to Gaza. Fifty million shekels ($12 million) recently was transferred in addition to $200 million that the United States is giving the Fatah government this month. The money will be used to cover its debts, which include salaries for Arabs in Gaza.