Palestinians at Rafah crossing
Photo: AP
'Disengaging from Hamas in Israel's interest'
State, defense officials welcome Hamas' stated intention to economically disengage from Israel

Jerusalem on Saturday welcomed reports that Hamas is giving serious consideration to sever all economical ties with Israel.


"This is clearly in Israel's interests, provided that our defense interests with Egypt are maintained," said a government official.


After seizing control of the Gaza Strip in the Six Day War, Israel became legally responsible for providing for its residents, but with Hamas' violent takeover of the coastal territory in June of last year – the possibility of ending Gaza's almost total economic dependence on Israel has become a best-case scenario for Jerusalem.


Defense sources concur with their political brethren in asserting that such a move would be in Israel's best interests. "It is no secret that as far as we are concerned, the Hamas regime in Gaza is an enemy entity seeking to harm Israeli citizens," said a defense official addressing the matter.


"After the Israeli disengagement, we had hoped that Gaza would become independent, with a decreasing dependency on Israel. Unfortunately, this has not been the case and alongside the Israeli aid – terrorism has only intensified."


The defense official added that Israel cannot afford to let Gazans go hungry or restrict the treatment of sick Palestinians, and therefore the aid to Gaza has continued despite the terror. "It's because we are Jews," he said.


According to the official Israel's decision to downsize the supply of goods to the Strip was indeed meant to prompt Hamas into seeking other venues for aid.


Due to an increase in Qassam rocket attacks emanating from its territory, Israel recently shut down its border crossings with Gaza and cut back on the supply of diesel fuel. The fuel shipments were renewed as of this week following a High Court ruling on the matter.


The shipment of humanitarian aid in Gaza continues, as does the supply of electricity and water.


Earlier today a top aide to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said his organization was contemplating an economic disengagement from Israel, choosing instead to receive goods and necessities from neighboring Egypt.


Hanan Greenberg contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 02.02.08, 23:13
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