Ma'an News Agency
June 28, 2010 - 12:00am

The Palestinian Monetary Authority and the Banking Association in Gaza made a joint call to close all financial institutions at 11am on Monday, in anger over a forced withdrawal by Hamas police the day before.

The statement said Gaza government police had stolen cash from the Bank of Palestine, though Gaza leaders said the withdrawal was based on a local court ruling, overturning the PMA decision to freeze the accounts of a local charity.

Marking the second time this year that Hamas-affiliated police entered a bank and demanded cash from charity accounts be handed over, officials within the banking sector said making withdrawals at gunpoint was not a good sign for financial stability.

A joint statement condemned what was described as an "attack on the Islamic Bank in Gaza on Sunday, and the stealing of an amount of money forcibly, claiming they [police] were implementing a court decision," and called the attack "irresponsible," warning that it could limit the ability of banks to provide services to the people of Gaza.

The PMA has not made clear, however, on what grounds the accounts of the two charities that have now allegedly recovered their funds, were frozen in the first place.

According to Reuters, the funds were frozen as part of an anti-money laundering campaign launched by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.


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