| GEO World|
| Israel to transfer 23 million dollars to Gaza|
| Updated at: 1950 PST, Tuesday, August 12, 2008|
GAZA: Israel will transfer 72 million shekels (23 million dollars) to the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to pay the salaries of Palestinian civil servants, a senior Israeli defence ministry official said.
"These funds will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority of Mahmud Abbas. They are for paying the salaries of Abbas's people," Deputy Defence Minister Matan Vilnai told reporters.
Vilnai said the transfer would be carried out according to "arrangements concluded with Mahmud Abbas" and that the funds would not fall into the hands of the Hamas movement which seized power in Gaza in June 2007.
Yaacov Edri, the minister of immigrant absorption, denounced the transfer, saying the funds would be used by Hamas for "terrorist operations."
Israel transfers around 75 million dollars a month to the Palestinian Authority in taxes and customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinians.
The funds are used to pay the more than 160,000 civil servants in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.