One of Israel’s largest banks cut off business ties with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Bank Hapoalim announced Tuesday it is no longer doing business in Gaza, which the Olmert government branded a “hostile territory” last week, triggering economic sanctions.
Hapoalim was one of two Israeli banks handling transactions for Palestinians in Gaza. The cutoff brings many of the territory’s 1.5 million residents closer to insolvency, though Israel has vowed to ensure that humanitarian services are not impacted by the sanctions.
The second Israeli bank with ties to Gaza, Israel Discount Bank, has yet to issue a decision.
Israel’s sanctions are part of an escalated response to persistent cross-border rocket salvos from Gaza, which the Hamas administration has either abetted or ignored.