(January 25, 2019 / Israel Hayom) Israel Hayom has learned that alongside Jerusalem’s decision to postpone the transfer of Qatari funds to Hamas following the escalation on Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip, Egypt has issued the terrorist organization’s political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh an ultimatum. Cairo has made it clear that Haniyeh must decide whether “Hamas takes its orders from Tehran or continues to implement the understandings for calm” formulated by the head of Egyptian intelligence Abbas Kamel.
A senior Egyptian intelligence official told Israel Hayom that senior Hamas members, chief among them Haniyeh, had contacted Kamel with the request that Israel be sent the message that “Hamas was not involved in the grave events on the border.”
Hamas further asked the Egyptian intelligence chief to “prevent the postponement of the transfer of the money from Qatar.” Haniyeh clarified that “Hamas will not ignore the Islamic Jihad’s provocations, which were carried out at the direct order of Tehran.”
The source said that while “Hamas was furious that senior Islamic Jihad officials did everything they could to bring about an escalation in the security situation in Gaza that postponed the transfer of money from Qatar to the [Gaza] strip,” they did not expect the Egyptian ultimatum, which pushed them into a corner.
The Egyptian official’s remarks come as Egypt and other Sunni Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, are hoping to keep Iran from establishing itself militarily in Gaza as it has done in Yemen and Syria, at the same time as it eyes other Sunni Arab states.
Israel Hayom has further learned from the Egyptian official that Cairo made it clear to Haniyeh that “Egypt has no plans to take part in the indirect talks Qatari emissary [to Gaza] Mohammed al-Emadi is conducting on the issue of the postponed transfer of funds to Gaza.” This is due to the bitter rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE.
Qatar has been accused of providing support, funding and shelter to terrorist organizations and their operatives, including radical Sunni Islamic terrorist groups directed by Hamas’s umbrella movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt and other Gulf states, as well as Shi’ite terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which take their orders from Tehran.
The Egyptian official emphasized that “it was made clear to Haniyeh and the heads of Hamas that Cairo would not lay the groundwork for Qatar’s moves in Gaza, and Egypt has no intention of intervening in the event a military confrontation breaks out in Gaza because Hamas is looking the other way at the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s provocations that come at the orders of Tehran.”
He said Cairo relayed to Hamas the message that it was to blame for the crisis, “and that they will need to deal with it and contain the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces] attacks so that they can get the money from Qatar.”