The defense establishment supported the transfer of the third installment of Qatari funds to the Gaza Strip Wednesday, but, according to a political source,"no decision has been made regarding the transfer of the funds."
Following Tuesday's escalation, in which an IDF officer was lightly wounded by gunfire (whose helmet saved his life), Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed the transfer of Qatari money to Gaza.
But all security officials present at the Security-Cabinet meeting Wednesday— including members of the Mossad, the Shin Bet, the IDF and the National Security Council—backed the move, saying the Islamic Jihad was responsible for the recent confrontation.
According to the officials, Israel responded to the attack by killing a member of Hamas. Since then, the terror organization had held back— so there was nothing to prevent the government from approving the transfer.
The Qatari grant consists of $15 million in cash for the payment of officials' salaries and distribution of stipends for Gaza's poor. It also includes an additional purchase of diesel fuel for Gaza's power plant in the amount of $10 million.
In addition, the Security-Cabinet also discussed the situation on the northern front. According to security sources, an Iranian escalation is unlikely since Iran doesn't have the capability to launch an attack from this front. Israel is, nevertheless, prepared for all possible scenarios.
Meanwhile, massive efforts are underway to stabilize the situation on the Israel-Gaza border. After Tuesday's escalation, Netanyahu issued an explicit warning Wednesday to Hamas.
"Perhaps there are those in Gaza who thought they could cause trouble. I suggest that those people appreciate that our response would be deadly and very painful. We are prepared for every scenario and every escalation," the prime minister said during a visit to the Shizafon army base in southern Israel.
Qatari Ambassador Mohammed al-Emadi, who is tasked with handing over the next installment of a $15 million grant to Hamas, arrived in Israel on Wednesday morning. Conducting parallel talks with the Gazans is Jamie McGoldrick, deputy to UN special envoy Nikolai Mladenov, who also arrived in Gaza Strip on Wednesday.
In the past week there has been a relative calm in Gaza, as Friday's demonstration was relatively quiet and the launch of incendiary balloons was put on halt. In addition, Hamas effectively stopped the demonstrations on the northern Gaza Strip Monday.
The terror organization recently threatened renewed violence over stalled payment, warning the Qatari cash freeze would escalate Friday's 'March of Return' protests. Hamas also claimed some hospitals in the Strip would cease their activities due to delays in payment.