EU's Borrell accuses Israel of financing Hamas

AFP , Saturday 20 Jan 2024

The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell late Friday accused Israel of having "created" and "financed" the Palestinian resistance group Hamas.

European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. AFP


"Hamas has been financed by the Israeli government to try to weaken the Palestinian Authority of Fatah.

"But if we do not intervene strongly, the spiral of hate and violence will continue from generation to generation, from funeral to funeral, as the seeds of hatred that are being sown in Gaza today flourish," he added during a speech in Spanish at the University of Valladolid in central Spain, which awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has in recent days reaffirmed his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state, drawing criticism from his US ally, which is still advocating a "two-state solution".

"We believe that a two-state solution must be imposed from outside to bring peace. Although, I insist, Israel is reaffirming its refusal (of this solution), and to prevent it they have gone so far as to create Hamas themselves," Borrell said.

Hamas was created in December 1987 shortly after the start of the first Palestinian intifada, or uprising, in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories by a group of Islamist militants claiming to be from the Muslim Brotherhood, including the influential Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Hamas, the Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, was notably founded to counter the Islamic Jihad militant group and compete with the mainly secular Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) then led by Yasser Arafat.

Twenty years later, in June 2007, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip following a quasi-civil war against the Fatah movement of Arafat's successor Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, which partially administers the occupied West Bank.

In recent years, the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas and under Israeli total blockade, has received millions of dollars in aid, provoking criticism of Netanyahu, who is accused of having favoured financing of the movement. 

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