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Hamas plans economic split from Israel

Feb. 2, 2008 at 9:33 PM

LONDON, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Hamas officials have plans for the Gaza Strip to break monetary ties with Israel and join with Egypt instead, an official told a London newspaper Saturday.

Officials said the organization wants Egypt to become "Gaza's Gateway" to the Muslim and Arab world, Ynetnews reported Saturday.

"Several Arab countries have already expressed marked willingness to trade with Gaza and to fund energy export projects should Egypt prove willing," Hamas leader and Palestinian Prime Minister Senior Adviser Ismail Haniyeh said.

Hamas wants to boost the economy of Gaza by bringing an end to its almost total economic dependence on Israel, the newspaper said.

"Hamas' proposal to lean on Egypt economically via the Rafah Crossing is a decided disaster, and allows Israel to sever the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, thereby dividing the (Palestinian) state as Israel has always longed to do," a Fatah spokesman said.

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