Israel moves against Hamas charities
Israel moved against Hamas' civil wing Monday, closing down four charities linked with the Islamist organization in the northern West Bank and outlawing 36 organizations which provide funding for Hamas institutions, reported dpa.
Palestinian officials said the Israeli army closed down the four charities for three years early Monday morning, after around 40 army vehicles entered Nablus two hours after midnight.
Hours later Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak signed an order declaring that the 36 institutions around the world, members of the "Union of Good" organization, are banned associations in Israel.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoom slammed the decision as an "immoral and inhuman crime against the Palestinian society."
Dr Hafez al-Sader of the Al-Tadamun charity, which runs a clinic and a sports club in Nablus and which Israel says forms "part of the Hamas infrastructure in the city," said the soldiers "destroyed and confiscated everything in the clinic, including about 5,000 dollars taken from the safe which was damaged."
He rejected the Israeli accusations that the clinic was affiliated with Hamas, saying it was founded in 1977 before the Islamic group was established.
The other charities shut included one sponsoring orphans, an Islamic school for girls and a mosque.
According to the Israel Ha'aretz daily, the army believes that shutting the Hamas-linked charities cuts off an "important source of funding" earmarked for militant activities.
The authoritative daily added that the move is also aimed at making it difficult for Hamas to increase its influence in the West Bank, in a bid to stem Hamas' rising popularity and keep it from wresting control from the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas, which refuses to recognise Israel and renounce violence, enjoys wide support among Palestinians because of the social services it provides. dpa sar jab pmc