Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni convened a special meeting of the Israel security cabinet yesterday morning to discuss the continuing Qassam rocket and mortar fire from Gaza. Israel has witnessed 100 Qassam rockets fired at Sderot and the Western Negev over the past 10 days.
Following the Israeli security cabinet meeting, the Israeli government spokesman said that they would not announce what steps it plans to take against Hamas at this time
Yesterday afternoon, however, Mr. Barak, announced that Israel had ordered the transfer of 100 million Shekels in cash – the equivalent of $25 million – to the Hamas government in Gaza to pay salaries, because of a cash flow shortage faced by Hamas.
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Mr. Barak was criticized for this decision by the Israel Minister of Trade and Industry, Eli Yishai, who said that the funds would be used by Hamas to buy more rockets, which would be fired into Israel.
An association of lawyers known as the Israel Legal Forum, asked the Israeli attorney general to issue an order to stop the supply of cash to Hamas.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Batya Ketar, head of the Sderot Parents Association, filed an unprecedented police complaint against Mr. Barak, accusing him of committing the crime of aiding a terror organization, considered to be a capital crime in Israel.
In her police complaint, Mrs. Ketar, cited the case of Richard David Hupper, a 33-year-old York County native who was sentenced last August to three and a half years in a U.S. federal prison for providing $20,000 for humanitarian aid to Hamas. Both the U.S. and Israel define Hamas as a terrorist organization.
In his defense, Mr. Hupper said that he was supplying funds that would only be earmarked for the humanitarian needs of Hamas. The court did not buy Mr. Hupper’s defense. The Israeli Defense Ministry, now headed by Mr. Barak, had provided evidence to U.S. law enforcement authorities concerning the aid that Mr. Hupper provided to Hamas.
“If Mr. Hupper was sentenced to three and a half years in federal prison for providing Hamas terrorists with only $20,000, how much time Mr. Barak will serve in jail for delivering 100 million shekels to Hamas terrorists?” Mrs. Ketar asked.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org