'Hamas win won't affect economy' [pg. 17]

Some 74 percent of Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce council members estimate that Hamas's victory in the Palestinian Authority elections alone would not influence Israel's economy, as long as violence does not escalate, the federation said Wednesday, citing a survey of 85 senior members from a wide range of businesses. Nonetheless, only 11% of the business people surveyed said that Israel's economy would remain stable without any connection whatsoever to Hamas's conduct. Some 15% of the federation's respondents predicted that the Islamist victory, in the long term, would hurt the flow of tourists and foreign investments into the country. FICC President Uriel Lynn himself reiterated his belief in the economy's resilience, stressing that "the confidence of the business sector and markets abroad in the continuation of the economic policy reinforces optimism regarding the economy, and this is what will determine the future of the Israeli economy." Nearly all of those asked (95%) expressed their opposition to the payment of more than $1 billion in international financial assistance packages to the Palestinian Authority under Hamas's leadership, and more than half (53%) said they were against the idea of Israel transferring tax revenues to the PA coffers, if Hamas does not commit to abandoning terrorism and recognizing Israel's right to exist.