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Paris, 25 June 2012

In a letter to World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels, "urged an investigation into the meeting in Gaza, reported last week, of Inger Andersen - his Vice-President for Middle East and North Africa - with Hamas political leaders."

The letter noted that "both the EU and US have designated the political and military wings of Hamas as terrorist organizations,which are at this time daily firing missiles into Israel." 

Samuels considered that "Ms. Andersen's statement that Gaza has a fiscal crisis 'could only be facetious'. 

However, her comment, 'recognizing that until fundamental changes are made that enable freer movement of people and greater access to resources, efforts to improve investments will be frustrated', requires explanation." 

He asked:"Is she arguing for regime change in Gaza?", continuing "if, on the other hand, her remark implies World Bank criticism of Israeli anti-terror security provisions, our Centre calls for appropriate steps." 

"Until full clarification, we fear that the World Bank will be perceived as endorsing terrorism and, thereby, encourage further violence in the region", concluded Samuels.