<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> WorldTribune.com: Mobile Israeli government under fire for transferring millions to Hamas

Israeli government under fire for transferring millions to Hamas

Monday, June 30, 2008 Free Headline Alerts

TEL AVIV The Israeli government has acknowledged the transfer of more than $100 million to the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Law Center has accused the Olmert government of secretly transferring hard currency to Hamas. The center, which also cited the Bank of Israel and the Postal Bank, has been representing the victims of Hamas attacks in Israeli and U.S. courts.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel transferred hundreds of millions of Israeli shekels to Hamas because of "Israeli diplomatic considerations." This was the first time the government, which has sought to isolate Hamas, acknowledged that it was financing the Islamic regime.

"At this point, due to conclusions that there is an Israeli interest that the transfer of funds continue, a decision was made to continue to transfer certain sums of money to the Gaza Strip," a June 25 letter from Olmert's office to the Israel Law Center said.

"Tens of thousands of Hamas terrorists and governmental officials get their salary in Israeli currency in cash," Israel Law Center director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner wrote in a letter to Olmert. "Thus, the transfer of large sums of cash into the Gaza Strip is, by definition, an act that directly fuels the terrorist activity of Hamas and is therefore a violation of the Terror-Funding Act of 2005 and the domestic and international laws against money laundering."

The center said some of the Israeli funding has been used in Hamas money-laundering. It did not elaborate.

"Hypocritically, the prime minister demands governments around the world isolate and and embargo the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and stop transferring funds to them while at the same time he authorizes the transfer of Israeli currency into the hands of the enemy," Ms. Darshan-Leitner said.

"This government claims to be fighting against the smuggling of tens of millions of dollars and euro into the Gaza Strip via the Egyptian border, all the while participating in the laundering of this money by exchanging them for New Israeli Shekels."

The center has warned of legal action against the Israeli government. Ms. Darshan-Leitner has already threatened a lawsuit against a major Israeli fuel company that exports to the Gaza Strip.

"There can be no doubt that the Israeli government's policy of transferring shekels is assisting the Hamas terrorists with their missile attacks on the Negev communities," Ms. Darshan-Leitner said.

"If the prime minister does not immediately halt the currency transfers to Gaza, Shurat HaDin [Israel Law Center] will take all legal means available against the government to bring this terror financing to a close."

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