Hamas says it wants to disconnect economically from Israel

Other News Materials 1 February 2008 02:28 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - A top Hamas official in the Gaza Strip said his organization is looking to completely cut all economic contact with Israel.

In an interview with the Palestinian news agency Maan, Ahmed Yousef, a former advisor to Hamas leader Ismail Haniya, said the move would include trying to reroute goods, including fuel supplies, to Gaza through Egypt.

The plan would push for an end to the enclave's 40 years of contact with, and dependency on, Israel, by tightening ties with "Arab and Islamic countries," he said.

He also said Hamas "insists on having a role in the management" of the Strip's southern Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Another Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Zahar, in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials over the border chaos created last week when militants blew holes in the wall between Gaza and the Sinai peninsula, also told the Al-Jazeera channel that his movement was seeking more control.

He said Hamas would be willing to share the responsibility for the border with the Presidential Guard of rival Mahmoud Abbas from the Fatah faction, along with a European Union supervision team, but that it would not allow for Israel to have any control over the crossing.

It remains doubtful that the Europeans, who have boycotted Hamas over its refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence, would agree to work with the Islamic group.