- Title: MIDDLE EAST: Israel plans funding clampdown on Hamas-ruled Gaza
- Date: 19th June 2007
- Summary: (W2) GAZA CITY, GAZA (JUNE 19, 2007) (REUTERS) TRAFFIC ON GAZA CITY STREET HAMAS SECURITY IN GREEN HI-VIS VESTS DIRECTING TRAFFIC
- Reuters ID: LVAENHIK29GVGQHR74OTIZLL3LB9
- Duration: 00:00:20
- Topics: International Relations,Finance
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Israel plans to impose a blanket economic embargo on Hamas-ruled Gaza, denying it access to funds including Palestinian tax revenues released to President Mahmoud Abbas.
Senior Israeli officials said on Tuesday (June 19) that an economic embargo would be placed on Hamas-ruled Gaza.
In addition to barring Palestinian tax funds transferred to Abbas from reaching Gaza to run Hamas-controlled government agencies and pay salaries, Israel is considering banning private transfers to individual Gazans through Western Union and other financial institutions, a senior Israeli official said.
Israeli officials said humanitarian supplies would not be cut off.
Israel and its Western allies have decided to open the financial taps to support the Western-backed emergency government set up in the West Bank by Abbas, the Fatah leader.
"We would like very much to help Abu Mazen by giving him part of the money that we are freezing in the hands of Israel," said Israeli Construction Minister Meir Sheetrit.
"I think it goes without saying, that we have to ensure that the money will be monitoring by Israel and be sure that this money really is going for positive targets and not to use for terror or to Hamas," he added.
Israel and the United States want to isolate Hamas economically, diplomatically and militarily in the Gaza Strip, which the Islamist group seized by force last week.
Senior Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel was discussing with the Bush administration the scope of their Gaza embargo.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House later on Tuesday.
The United States and the European Union have thrown their support behind Abbas's new government, announcing they will end a 15-month-old economic embargo of the Palestinian Authority.
But it is unclear whether the EU will go along with U.S. and Israeli efforts to isolate Gaza, whose 1.5 million residents are aid-dependent.
Israeli officials estimated that $300 million to $400 million in Palestinian tax revenues would be transferred, short of the $700 million sought by Abbas. Israeli officials say the rest of the money has been frozen by court order.
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- Embargoed:4th July 2007 13:00