Israel Weighs Sanctions on Hamas-Led PA

(Jerusalem Post) Yaakov Katz, Hilary Leila Krieger, and Margot Dudkevitch - Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz on Thursday approved a list of economic sanctions ranging from a ban on Palestinian workers entering Israel to an immediate halt of money transfers to the PA, to be implemented in response to the swearing-in of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian parliament on Saturday. "As of Saturday, all the rules of the game change," said Haim Ramon. Israel transfers to the Palestinians about $600 million annually in taxes and customs duties Israel collects on behalf of Palestinian merchants and laborers. The transfers are mostly used to pay the salaries of 140,000 government workers - 40% of whom work for the security forces. Honoring the transfer agreement after Hamas takes power makes no sense, Ramon said. "Is it even conceivable that we would collect money and hand it over to the terrorist organization?" he asked. Senior security officials asserted that Hamas was still involved in anti-Israel terror despite the group's attempts to present itself as terror-free. Hamas' goal is to mislead the public while it is busy building up its forces for a violent showdown with Israel, the officials said.

2006-02-17 00:00:00

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