RealNews

No European Rush to Back U.S. Vs. Hamas

European governments that rushed to the side of George W. Bush when he declared war on terrorism are divided in their response to the president’s latest rallying call — to cut off funding to the radical Palestinian group Hamas. The European Union has put the Hamas military wing, Izzedine al Qassam, on its list of terrorist organizations, but it has resisted American appeals to ban the Hamas political wing as well. The British and Dutch are pushing to add more Hamas-linked groups to the list when the EU foreign ministers meet in Italy on Sept. 5-6 to discuss the issue. But France, Belgium and others are reluctant for fear of cutting off avenues of negotiation with the Palestinians, according to diplomats in Europe. They are also concerned harming the social work Hamas does would create more hardship for the Palestinians and risk a still more violent backlash. German officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted that Hamas provides a lot of social services for Palestinians — but that after the latest Mideast peace setbacks, Berlin would not oppose a harder line. Full Story

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