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Abbas Moves to Reassure Foreign Banks

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas on Saturday signed a decree designed to reassure foreign banks that they can do business with Palestinian banks without violating American and Israeli counter-terrorism regulations. The specific terms of the decree were worked out with help from the International Monetary Fund and carry severe punishment for offenders. Israeli banks recently cut all ties with banks located in the Gaza Strip after Gaza was declared to be a "hostile entity." The banks feared inadvertently providing Hamas with access to Israeli shekels, the currency used in the Palestinian territories. Hamas has cut deals with alternative entities such as moneychangers and Islamic charities, and is receiving money from Iran. Hamas says the new regulations might make it more difficult to obtain funds, but won’t dry up funding completely.