Israel Palestine Conflict

EU’s Borrell repeats claim Israel contributed to creation of Hamas

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EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Monday repeated his claim that Israel helped create the Palestinian militant group Hamas which it is battling to crush in a deadly offensive.

Borrell spoke in response to questions about his assertion in January that Israel had “created” and “financed” the militia group -- a claim made amid the country’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

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“I do not say that (Israel) financed it by sending a cheque, but it has enabled the development of Hamas” as a rival to leading Palestinian party Fatah, he said in a forum at a business school in Madrid.

“It is an unquestionable reality that Israel has bet on dividing the Palestinians, creating a force to oppose Fatah,” he said.

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on October 7. The attack resulted in the deaths of around 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

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The retaliatory Israeli military offensive in Gaza has killed at least 29,782 people, most of them women and children, according to the territory’s health ministry.

In recent years, the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas and under Israeli blockade, has received millions of dollars in aid from Qatar.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of having favoured such financing of the movement. The prime minister denies the accusation.

Borrell reiterated his stance that a two-state solution must be imposed to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict -- a demand Netanyahu rejects.

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