Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided not to allow a Qatari money transfer into Gaza following Tuesday’s escalation along the Gaza border, which saw one Israeli soldier lightly wounded and one Palestinian killed, a political source said.
Two fire exchanges took place along the border after a period of relative calm. In the afternoon, the Israeli military said it shelled a Hamas observation post after an Israeli officer was injured by a bullet that penetrated the helmet he was wearing.
The Israeli military retaliated by striking a Hamas post in Gaza, an attack that injured two and claimed the life of a 24-year-old Palestinian.
Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces struck a Hamas post in the northern Strip in response to Palestinian fire.
The third Qatari cash donation for impoverished Gaza civil servants was slated to take place on Wednesday, after it was held back by Israel in protest of Palestinian border violence.
>> Hamas could cause an escalation on the Israeli border. Abbas could start a greater conflict | Analysis
According to several diplomats, Netanyahu may be mulling walking back on understandings reached with Hamas, given the political price of photographs depicting suitcases of money arriving in Gaza. Netanyahu, a Hamas senior official told Haaretz recently, is measuring any step he takes right now in terms of electoral loss or gain. "The transfer of the Qatari money does not serve him well at the moment."
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Qatar in November began a six-month, $150 million program to fund civil servant wages and shipments of fuel for power generation in Gaza, offering a measure of reprieve to the blockaded enclave under the control of Islamist militant group Hamas.
Qatar hopes the aid will ease conditions and restore stability, part of efforts to bolster its international standing amid a diplomatic dispute with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf neighbors.