Defense Minister Ehud barak
Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry

Barak approves funds transfer to Gaza

Defense minister approves appeal to transfer NIS 100 million from West Bank banks to Gaza due to financial crisis in Strip; Shas chairman says decision will 'encourage Qassam launchers'

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday approved the transfer of NIS 100 million ($25.5 million) from the West Bank banks to Gaza.


The move was approved following an appeal made by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and the governor of the Bank of Israel, Stanley Fischer, due to the cash fund crisis in the Strip, which has caused a number of banks to shut down.


The funds are intended to pay the salaries of 70,000 of the Palestinian Authority's employees in the Gaza Strip, and will be transferred this week in an Israeli 'Brink's' truck.


Shas Chairman Eli Yishai criticized Barak's decision and said, "This is a prize for terror. The security cabinet convened and, instead of coming out with tidings for the Gaza vicinity, Sderot, and Ashkelon, came out with tidings for Gaza and the Qassam launchers."


Yishai added that "this decision has a white flag waving above it. The rocket-launchers have received encouragement to continue the launches. I don't understand where the impotence leading to such a servile decision could have come from."


The Yisrael Beiteinu Party also responded to the decision and stated, "Barak's need to re-conquer the leftist voters is obvious, but why must this come at the expense of the nation's security? It's clear that after NIS 100 million is transferred today, 100,000 Qassams will be returned tomorrow."


Earlier Wednesday Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Barak convened to discuss the alternatives for an Israeli response to the ongoing rocket fire from Gaza.


Yishai called on the leaders ahead of the meeting to order "immediate pinpoint operations against the Hamas leadership and those who carry out the terror attacks against Israel."


פרסום ראשון: 12.10.08, 16:08
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