3 guys
© Dana Kopel/Mark Schiefelbein/ ReutersBenjamin Netanyahu • Sheikh Mohammed Thani • Yahya Sinwar
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the government of Qatar to continue the transfer of money to Gaza, in a secret letter sent to the Qatari leadership in 2018 and only seen by a handful of people since. In the letter, Netanyahu explained that the funding would reduce the motivation of terror groups there to carry out attacks, would prevent a humanitarian crisis and was vital for preserving regional stability.

There are two different time periods for Qatari funding of the Gaza Strip, which allowed Hamas to grow from an insignificant terror organization into a military empire with battalions, an underground network of tunnels and the fire power of a small army.

Between 2007 and 2014, Qatar provided Hamas with funds, away from any international oversight or review. From 2014 on, funding from Qatar was coordinated with the United States and Israel.

The 2014 war in Gaza was the turning point. The U.S., UN, Israel and Qatar decided soon after the war to set up a new system in which $30 million would be delivered to the coastal strip by Doha each month.
Some $10 million was to buy fuel from Israel, needed to operate Gaza's power station, $10 million to pay the salaries of government employees, and the final $10 million was to be given in $100 stipends to some 100,000 Gazan families in need.
That was the time when the notion that Hamas would back away from its intent to destroy Israel as long as it accumulates governing and economic assets took root in Israel.

Until 2018, Qatari funds were not given to Gaza on a regular basis and delivered only occasionally with approval from Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Dr. Udi Levi, who was the Mossad official charged with fighting the funding of terror until 2016, said:
"The PA said it would no longer agree to fund Hamas and rather than let the terror group collapse, Israel decided on an alternative route for its funding. That was part of Israel's policy to buy quiet. Hamas demanded that the $30 million per month would be delivered directly to the ruling faction. It was naïve to believe Hamas would provide the money to the population in Gaza."
© IDFIDF soldier in a massive Hamas tunnel uncovered in northern Gaza
It is now evident that Qatar was not fond of the new arrangement. Levi says:
"They were playing a double game then and are still doing so now. We are talking about the greatest funder of terrorism in the world, but in 2018 Qatar was concerned that funding Hamas - which had been designated a terror organization - would create problems with international institutions."
Meanwhile, in November of 2018, then-Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman resigned in protest against the government over a cease-fire in Gaza:
"We are on one hand passing a law to withhold funds from the PA, for funding terrorists and on the other hand allowing funds to flow to the terrorists in Gaza. Anyone who says there is oversight of where those funds go, is being inaccurate, to put it mildly."
Netanyahu understood the Qatari predicament and sent his urgent letter to Doha but the officials there demanded further assurances. "There was a sense that the Americans were needed, in order to seal the deal," Levi says.

Then-U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who was in charge of finance for the campaign to reelect Donald Trump and who is Jewish, agreed to a request from Netanyahu and sent an additional letter to Doha, this time from Washington, in effect, ensuring Qatar that the funding of Hamas would not be considered funding terror.

Levi explains that, although he had run the financial war on funding of terrorism between 2001 and 2016, he was never consulted by the political leadership about the transfer of funds to Hamas.
"Unlike previous administrations I have served under, during the governments of [Ariel] Sharon and [Ehud] Olmert, Netanyahu did not consult with me despite the fact that I served directly under him. I, of course, strongly objected to the transfer of Qatari funding to Hamas, even before 2018, but that did not interest Netanyahu."
Bin andSteve
© Emile SalmanThen-US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Ultimately the letters from Netanyahu and Mnuchin satisfied the Qataris and the first installment in cash was delivered on November 8, 2014, and the rest is history that is still unfolding.

The Prime Minister's Office did not respond to a request for comment on this topic.