EU Sanctions Six Hamas Financiers

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The European Union has added six individuals to an asset freeze and visa ban blacklist for financing the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.

In a statement on Friday, the European Council announced a new EU sanctions framework targeting “any individual or entity who supports, facilitates or enables violent actions by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).”

The statement read, “Today’s decision was taken in view of the gravity of the recent attacks against Israel and the need to fight against violent actions that threaten peace and international security, and aims at preventing such violent actions by Hamas and PIJ in the future.”

The newly sanctioned individuals are Sudan-based financier Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair, Owner of ‘Shuman for Currency Exchange SARL’ Nabil Chouman, the former’s son Khaled Chouman, Senior Hamas financier Rida Ali Khamis, Senior Hamas operative Musa Dudin and Algeria-based financier Aiman Ahmad Al Duwaik.

A statement by the EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said, “With today’s decision of a dedicated framework of restrictive measures against supporters of violent actions by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the European Union shows that we are ready to take decisive steps to react to the brutality shown by terrorists on October 7.”

It added, “Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in a just, lasting, and secure peace.”

Meanwhile, the EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, Josep Borrell accused the Israeli government of financing Hamas in an effort to weaken the Palestinian Authority.

In a speech at the University of Valladolid in Spain on Friday, Borrell also said that Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had “personally” derailed any attempt to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He said, “Yes, Hamas was financed by the government of Israel in an attempt to weaken the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah.”

Hamas has run the Gaza Strip since 2007 after a brief civil war with forces loyal to the Fatah movement, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in the West Bank and also heads the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Borrell did not elaborate on his statement, but added that the only peaceful solution included the creation of a Palestinian state.

He said, “We only believe a two-state solution imposed from the outside would bring peace even though Israel insists on the negative.”

EU Ministers To Meet Israeli And Palestinian Diplomats
EU foreign ministers will hold a series of meetings on Monday, January 22, 2024, with counterparts from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and key Arab nations about the war in Gaza and prospects for a future peace settlement.

The Israeli Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, and his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Maliki, are not expected to meet each other.

The Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will also meet European ministers in Brussels.

European diplomats said that their aim is to sound out each side over ways to end the violence on the ground and the next steps towards a longer-term solution.

The EU has struggled for a united stance on the conflict in Gaza as staunch backers of Israel such as Germany have rejected demands for an immediate ceasefire from the likes of Spain and Ireland.

EU officials have sketched out broad demands for “the day after” the current war ends in Gaza, calling for no long-term Israeli occupation, an end to Hamas’ rule and a role for the Palestinian Authority in running the territory.

The 27-nation bloc, along with the U.S, believes the creation of a Palestinian state remains the only viable way to secure a lasting peace.

However, Israel’s rightwing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, flatly rejected that suggestion.

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