Home Awareness Borrell reaffirms that Israel “facilitated the development of Hamas”

Borrell reaffirms that Israel “facilitated the development of Hamas”

Palestinian fighters from the armed wing of Hamas take part in a military parade to mark the anniversary of the 2014 war with Israel, near the border in the central Gaza Strip, July 19, 2023. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, reaffirmed Monday that Israel had “favored the development” of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, behind the unprecedented attack of October 7 on Israeli soil which triggered the current conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Asked at a forum in Madrid about his controversial statements in January, when he said Israel had “created” and “financed” Hamas, Mr. Borrell, a Spanish socialist, maintained his position.

“That Israel played on the division between the Palestinians by creating a force opposing Fatah is an indisputable reality,” he said. “I’m not saying that he financed it by sending him a check, but that he facilitated the development of Hamas,” he added.

Mr. Borrell claimed to be referring to “a well-known phrase Mr. Netanyahu (the Israeli Prime Minister) said in public to his parliamentary group, where he said that all those who opposed the two-state solution must (.. .) facilitate (…) the financing of Hamas”. He did not give further details.

Hamas was created in December 1987 by a group of Islamist militants calling themselves the Muslim Brotherhood. An acronym in Arabic for “Islamic Resistance Movement”, Hamas was notably founded to compete with Fatah, a mainly secular movement then led by Yasser Arafat.

Twenty years later, in June 2007, following a quasi-civil war against Fatah, Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip. The movement, which advocates armed struggle against Israel, is described as terrorist by the United States, the European Union and Israel.

In recent years, the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas and under Israeli blockade, has received multimillion-dollar aid from Qatar, leading to criticism of Mr. Netanyahu, who some of his critics accuse of having favored the financing of this movement, which he denies.

Mr. Borrell also claimed his “right” to criticize the Netanyahu government “without being accused of being anti-Semitic”.

“This does not prevent me from considering that the Israeli military response in Gaza is disproportionate”, because it causes “an excessive number of civilian victims”, he continued.

He further affirmed that “everyone (seemed) to agree” with the two-state solution, therefore with the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, “except the Netanyahu government, which prevents this solution for 30 years.”

This article is originally published on lorientlejour.com

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