Gaza Strip: Palestinian Foreign Minister brings US$20 million in suitcase
Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, who has been seeking to raise money for the financially strapped government, returned to the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with a suitcase full of cash, Palestinians officials said. According to the AP, an official said Zahar was believed to be carrying up to $20 million.
The official added Zahar had declared the money at the border, which is controlled by President Mahmoud Abbas' presidential guard and monitored by European observers.
Last month, a Hamas official was caught as he tried to smuggle about $800,000 into Gaza Strip. The money was seized, but later returned to the government.
Israel and Western donors have demanded that Hamas renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist as a condition for restoring the aid. The money carried by Zahar would cover only a small portion of the government's mounting debts.
During his recent trip, Zahar traveled to Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, China, Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Egypt. Hamas has said it has raised more than $60 million, but previously has been unable to transfer the money to the Palestinian areas.