Envoy’s Hamas warning

Britain’s ambassador to Israel believes trade restrictions imposed on Gaza have “enriched” Hamas and weakened Israel’s security.

Matthew Gould said he was in “no doubt about Hamas’ lack of readiness to be a partner for peace”, but added that Israeli sanctions on trade to the Palestinian territory were “hurting moderate businessmen” and “ordinary Gazan workers”.

Writing for Israeli site YNet News following a visit to Gaza to meet business leaders, Mr Gould said Hamas was receiving building materials through the smuggling tunnels linked to Egypt.

It also received “huge income” through taxes imposed on those using the routes.

He wrote: “By keeping Gaza’s economy deflated, by weakening Gaza’s traditional business leaders, and by forcing all trade to go through Hamas-controlled tunnels, we are not doing anything to strengthen Israel’s security.
“Rather, we are simply enriching Hamas and its allies.”

Last updated: 11:42am, August 1 2013