Netanyahu defends Qatari funds to Hamas: ‘Every action has a price’

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected criticism of the transfer of $15 mln from Qatar to Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip, a move he described as a “right step at this time”.

Netanyahu defended the decision, saying it would calm tensions and prevent a Palestinian humanitarian crisis.

“I’m doing what I can, in coordination with the security elements, to return quiet to the southern communities, but also to prevent a humanitarian crisis,” Netanyahu said, referring to Israeli towns near the Gaza border and deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu said the Israeli security establishment supported the move and that ministers in his security cabinet approved it.

“We held serious discussions,” he said ahead of his flight to Paris, where he will join world leaders marking the centenary of the end of World War I.

“I think we’re acting in a responsible and wise way.”

He added: “At this time, this is the right step.”

On Friday, Palestinian civil servants began receiving payments after months of sporadic salary disbursements in cash-strapped Gaza, with money delivered into the Palestinian enclave through Israel, reportedly in suitcases.