Monday, 21 November 2011

Hamas lowers boom on Gaza banks that sent taxes to Palestinian Authority


... This Should Help Build Unity between Hamas and the P.A.
GAZA CITY — The Hamas regime has cracked down on major banks in the
Gaza Strip.
A Hamas court fined two major Gaza banks tens of millions of dollars for refusing to pay taxes to the Islamic regime. The decision, issued in mid-November, said the Bank of Palestine and Palestine Islamic Bank insisted on paying taxes to the Palestinian Authority, expelled by Hamas from the Gaza Strip in 2007.
“They have to choose between Palestinian and American legitimacy,” a Hamas official told the PA-owned daily Al Ayam.
Neither Hamas nor the Gaza judiciary published the decisions regarding the two banks. But executives said Bank of Palestine was ordered to pay Hamas $113 million in back taxes and fines. The 11 members of the bank’s board of directors were also banned from leaving the Gaza Strip.
Neither bank attended the Hamas court hearings. Executives said the banks would be unable to pay the fine and might close their branches in the Gaza Strip.
The PA did not respond to the court rulings. On Nov. 24, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to meet Hamas politburo chief Khaled Masha’al in Cairo in another effort to form a joint government.
Palestinian sources said Hamas was believed to be preparing a crackdown on other major businesses that still recognized PA rule in the Gaza Strip.
They included fuel suppliers, cellular phone providers and power companies, all of which receive revenues through the PA.
The Gaza Strip contains nine banks, all of which have been threatened with sanctions for cooperation with Hamas. In 2010, Hamas raided two banks for cash frozen under international sanctions by Israel, the European Union and the United States.
The Israeli government provides about $13 million a month to the Gaza Strip for salaries for tens of thousands of former PA employees. In November, Israel announced that it would supply building material for the construction of nearly a dozen factories in the Gaza Strip.

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