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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Israel Aims to Choke Off Funds

JERUSALEM -- Israel plans to tighten a financial clampdown on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that would choke off all but humanitarian and basic supplies, senior Israeli and Western officials said Tuesday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction flatly rejected a Hamas overture for "dialogue" and banned all contacts with the group.

Mohammad Dahlan, Hamas' archnemesis and a national security adviser to the president, branded the Islamists an "occupation force" in Gaza, a phrase commonly used to denounce Israel.

While opening the funding taps to the Western-backed emergency government set up by Abbas in the occupied West Bank, Israel and the United States want to isolate Hamas financially, diplomatically and militarily in the Gaza Strip, where the Islamist group forcibly seized power last week.

The embargo will be coupled with a U.S.-led push for renewed peace talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said: "It is surprising that while they [Fatah leaders] are for holding a dialogue with the Zionists, they reject dialogue with us."

Israel plans to bar Palestinian tax funds transferred to Abbas from reaching Gaza to run Hamas-led agencies and pay workers, senior Israeli officials said.

Olmert will meet U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the scope of their Gaza embargo.