Hamas leader: Meeting with UN coordinator was 'negative'

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar reportedly threatens: Give us the Qatari grant or we'll escalate the situation.

Elad Benari ,

Sinwar at Hamas meeting
Sinwar at Hamas meeting
Flash 90

Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said on Monday that his meeting with a UN delegation over Gaza's humanitarian situation was "completely negative", the Xinhua news agency reports.

Sinwar made the remark in a news briefing after a meeting in Gaza city with a senior UN delegation, including the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland.

Israel "is blackmailing the Palestinian factions including Hamas in solving the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip," charged Sinwar, warning that the situation might escalate again if the issue remains unsolved.

The UN delegation "heard from us with interest and deep concerns, but unfortunately there are no indications of any good intentions toward solving the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip," he added.

According to Kan 11 News, Sinwar demanded during his meeting with Wennesland an immediate transfer of the monthly grant from Qatar, in the amount of $30 million.

Sinwar reportedly threatened that if the money is not transferred, he will escalate the situation on the Gaza border - with riots on the fence and the firing of incendiary balloons.

Qatar has been heavily invested in the Gaza Strip in recent years, funding welfare payments to the enclave with Israel’s blessing.

The most recent $10 million grant from Qatar entered Gaza at the start of May, before the start of the recent round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Following Operation Guardian of the Walls, Israel plans to reevaluate the way in which the Qatari money enters Gaza in order to ensure that the funds go to the needy population of the Strip and not into the hands of Hamas.

On Monday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz made clear to Hamas that Israel will not help Gaza financially unless it returns the bodies of the Israeli soldiers it is holding and ensures security stability.



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