Hamas Asks Supporters for Money, Guns

The donor community, and especially the EU, has been reluctant to transfer fresh aid to the Palestinians until a mechanism is agreed by all parties to ensure that fresh international funds are not accessed by the Palestinian Authority's (PA) newly elected Hamas administration. The Quartet has already set pre-requisites for the resumption of direct aid to the PA; Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel, and honour previously signed agreements.

And while Hamas has refused to change its fundamentalist platform, the World Bank and others have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis if funds do not flow very soon.

New Hamas statements have vindicated the European policy. The Hamas leadership has drawn up its priorities for donor money - priorities, which may not be funded under EU law. Hamas wants to use the donations in order to promote violence and terror - while leaving the looming humanitarian crisis on the conscience of the international donor community.

The following is a Reuter's report of the Hamas declaration.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hamas asks supporters for money, guns

Palestinian militant group Hamas has urged supporters around the world to send it arms, fighters and money to back its fight against arch-foe Israel.

"We ask all the people in surrounding Arab countries, the Muslim world and everyone who wants to support us to send weapons, money and men," Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said.

"You should not shy away from of this. This is resistance, not terrorism.'

Prominent Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi says Muslims should boycott banks refusing to transfer funds to the Palestinians.

The US has said it could penalise banks that help provide money to the Hamas-led Government.

"We call on Muslims to boycott banks that do not transfer money to the Palestinians," he said.

"The boycott would force them to cooperate."

Hamas, which has carried out about 60 suicide bombings against Israel since a Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000, won elections in January and formed its first government in March.

Hamas, which has largely abided by a cease-fire for more than a year, has been under increasing Western and Israeli financial pressure to recognise the Jewish state, abandon armed struggle and accept interim Israeli-Palestinian peace deals.

- Reuters

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