Haniyeh delays trip abroad citing travel ban

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas has postponed a tour of Arab countries because of Israeli travel restrictions, his office said Monday. Haniyeh planned the tour, which was to have begun Tuesday, in part to help replenish his government's empty coffers. It was to have been his first trip abroad since the anti-Israel Hamas took office in March, provoking crushing international economic sanctions on the Palestinian government. The trip was delayed after Israel said security conditions did not permit Europeans monitoring the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt to cross from Israel into Gaza, the European mission said and Palestinian officials said. Without the monitors, the passage doesn't operate. Haniyeh's office said the passage was to have been open on Tuesday. Once he learned it would be closed, he postponed his trip, saying he wouldn't exercise his VIP status to leave the coastal strip, his office said.