Senior Hamas Official: Gaza Factions Agree to End Violent Protests Along Israel Border

Palestinian factions decided on Thursday to put an end to the violent protests along the Israel-Gaza border and stop the launching of airborne firebombs, a senior Hamas official told Haaretz. According to the official, the protesters will also stop setting tires on fire and approaching the Israeli side of the border.

At a conference held ahead of Friday’s protests, the factions agreed to lower the level of friction in light of the talks brokered by Egypt. The decision also follows Israel’s decision to expand the permitted fishing zone off the Gaza Strip’s coast and transfer funds from Qatar for Hamas salaries.

>> Read more: Israel vs. Gaza: The pendulum swings back toward renewed conflict ■ Despite growing pressure, Netanyahu still supports efforts to de-escalate tensions with Gaza ■ Israel decides against toppling Hamas in Gaza, seeks to weaken it

The deal to transfer funds was made possible after Israel negotiated with Qatar and received guarantees that the money will be transferred only for the stated purpose, according to the reports. 

A senior diplomatic source told reporters this week that Israel is interested in promoting the Qatari fund transfer to Hamas in order to prevent a humanitarian collapse "that will end up exploding in our faces."

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Hamas’ Finance Ministry in Gaza will reportedly use the Qatari funding to pay the salaries over the next two weeks.

According to the reports, Gaza’s Finance Ministry has prepared the list of officials who will receive the payments, as requested by the Qataris. It is still unknown whether security officials in the police and the security forces will also receive their salaries from the Qatari money.

Hamas has been demanding for years that the Palestinian Authority pay the salaries of public-sector workers whom Hamas hired since it took power of the Strip in 2007. Ramallah insists that it first be given full control of all government activities in Gaza, including tax collection and payments.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has used the salary payment issue as a punitive measure against Hamas for establishing an independent administrative council for Gaza.

Also Thursday, a suspicious object was found in the courtyard of a kindergarten in a community in the Eshkol Regional Council, which borders the Gaza Strip.

The kindergarten teacher, who found the object, moved the children to a safe place and then informed the community security officer. 

in a seperate incident on Thursday, an incendiary balloon was found near Be’eri in southern Israel. No injuries were reported.