Top officials: Israel's halting cash flow to Gaza counterproductive

Israeli restrictions on cash shipments to Gaza banks, meant to weaken the territory's Hamas rulers, are largely counterproductive and ultimately harm Palestinian moderates, top international aid officials warned in a letter to Israel's prime minister. The letter, obtained by The Associated Press, was signed by World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and international Mideast envoy Tony Blair. It marked the highest-level intervention on the issue yet, following a growing cash crunch in Gaza. The three also expressed concern about a decision by two Israeli banks to sever correspondent relationships with Palestinian counterparts. The two developments "may have a considerable impact on the Palestinian economy and its institutions, and ultimately on Israel's longer-term relationship with the Palestinians," the letter said.