Defense sources say that, behind the scenes, what made the cease-fire and the return to the negotiating table in Cairo possible, was Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) involvement, and their willingness to contribute funds towards the rehabilitation of Gaza. One of the sources emphasized that Hamas insisted that Qatar contribute funds for Gaza rehabilitation. However, because Jerusalem and Cairo are wary of Qatar’s increasing influence in the Gaza Strip, under the leadership of Hamas political chairman Khaled Mashal, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were recruited for the project of rebuilding the Gaza Strip after Operation Protective Edge.
The source noted that this process is expected to weaken Qatar and Hamas’ influence abroad, with regards to what goes on in Gaza. According to the source, the Saudi funds are contingent upon Saudi oversight, so that the funds will not be used to build tunnels or for military purpose, but only for the welfare of the residents.
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Yesterday, Palestinian news agency Samaa reported that Hamas had succeeded in bringing millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip, which had not been transferred during the past two months, making it possible for Hamas to pay salaries. According to the report, over the past few hours, all of the members of the Hamas military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam brigade, received their last two months’ salaries, and former Hamas government officials’ salaries will soon be paid. It is not yet known how Hamas succeeded in bringing such a large sum of money into Gaza, however, it is possible that it is from the aid promised by Saudi Arabia and UAE leaders.
Another factor that motivated Hamas to agree to the cease-fire is the opening of the Rafah crossing to Sinai. This came after the Egyptians expressed willingness to hand over control of the Palestinian side of the border to the Palestinian Authority. Another senior defense source said this morning that the Palestinians are pinning all their hopes on the opening of the Rafah crossing under Palestinian control. “Hamas insists upon receiving economic dividends. One of them is the Rafah crossing, and the other is extending fishing waters – a point that it appears Israel had agreed to, contingent upon a cease-fire.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – www.globes-online.com