News from Gaza City confirms my view on the subject. It would appear that about 10 officers of the Hamas police raided a bank and demanded either 1 million Israeli shekels (c. $270,000) as the Jerusalem Post reports, or 1.5 million (c. $400,000) as Reuters tells us.
The money had been frozen by the Palestinian Authority, nominally the government of Gaza, last July.
The seizure, which Hamas said was backed by an order from a Hamas-run court, was the latest power play by the radical Islamic group, which violently took control of the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Fatah in 2007. Since then, Abbas's Palestinian Authority has governed only the West Bank. Efforts to reconcile the two sides have failed.Naturally, the Palestinian Monetarian Authority (PMA) takes a somewhat different view from the Hamas court and police. According to it, the action was "sinful".
Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ehab Ghussein confirmed money was taken and said a court ruled the block on the funds was illegal.
The funds were intended for an association called Friends of the Sick, which has run a medical center in Gaza for over a decade.
The Palestinian Authority, which used to fund the group, froze the money after the organization elected a Hamas-dominated governing board in July 2009, the group said.
"This was based on entirely political considerations that have no relationship to the association's charitable work," the group said in a written statement.
Ehab Al-Ghsain, spokesman for the Hamas-run Interior Ministry, said Monday's move was "the implementation of a judicial decision." The association had "resorted to court after the Fatah government froze its account in the bank," he said.Jihad al-Wazir, the governor of the PMA, has announced that the banks in the Gaza Strip, who are nominally under the PMA's jurisdiction will stage a strike on Tuesday to protest the raid. One cannot help feeling that this is somewhat more serious than the various reasons the various striking unions in Britain produce.