Canada Freezes All Hamas Assets
The Government of Canada on Tuesday expanded its list of suspected "terrorist" groups to include Hamas, the Islamic group known for its suicide attacks against Israel.
The Canadian government had previously excluded the charity branch of Hamas from its list of groups and individuals whose financial assets would be frozen if found in any Canadian financial institution. The move follows a similar one undertaken by the U.S. earlier this month.
Canada, now following the United Kingdom, previously distinguished between the Hamas military arm and the charity initiative of this Palestinian organization.
Canada has frozen $344,000 in 28 accounts.
On December 4, the U.S. government shut down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, a charity based in Texas, and two other similar U.S. organizations, alleging that they raise money for Hamas. In Canada, the Liberal government added all the same organizations to its anti-terrorist list, but neither declared Hamas a “terrorist organization” nor banned its affiliates from raising money there. The reported reason was that Ottawa does not want to damage Canada's relations with Arab states.
Previously, a Canadian foreign affairs department official revealed anonymously that Canadian embassies in the Middle East as well as the Egyptian Foreign Ministry argue that if Ottawa declares Hamas a “terrorist organization”, it would be viewed as pro-Israel. (Albawaba.com)
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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