EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has openly accused the Israeli government of funding Hamas, an allegation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied. Borrell did not elaborate on the claim, which has been repeatedly made by opponents of Netanyahu and the Israeli media.
Speaking at the University of Valladolid in Spain, Josep Borrell said Hamas “was financed by the Israeli government in an attempt to weaken the Palestinian Authority led by Fatah,” according to El Pais newspaper.
Netanyahu has blamed the rise of Hamas on Iran, for supporting the Palestinian militant group “with money, training and weapons and technological know-how” and intelligence.
Israel claims Tehran was involved in plotting the October 7 attacks, in which around 1,200 people were killed and scores taken hostage in the surprise Hamas raid near Gaza. Israel responded with an intense military bombardment of the Palestinian enclave, so far leaving about 24,000 dead, according to local health officials. The operation is aimed at wiping out the militant group, Israel says. Hamas has ruled Gaza since 2007, when it defeated the Fatah movement led by President Mahmoud Abbas in an armed conflict.
In a televised interview on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Iran is the head of the octopus and you see its tentacles all around from the Houthis to Hezbollah to Hamas,” and admitted that the IDF has carried out direct strikes on the country.