A U.S State Department official told on Monday the Israeli online Daily ‘Jerusalem Post’ that the Israeli blockade of Gaza, where Hamas holds a sway, has helped strengthen Hamas instead of harming it.

The J.Post reported that the Sate Department will convey such an assessment to Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, who heads for Washington Tuesday.

‘Closing the borders with Gaza has not been effective since June2007’ , the U.S official was quoted in a condition of anonymity.

Olmert is due to arrive in Washington within talks over peace on the Syrian track as well as Washington’s willingness to conclude the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations by the end of this year.

Olmert also faces corruption charges including money laundry, which might overshadow his standing as the prime minister of Israel.

However, the American administration is confident that its two-state solution vision is welcomed widely by the Israeli public, the U.S official explained.

Since June of last year, Israel has been enforcing a crippling closure on the Gaza Strip, after the Islamist democratically-elected Hamas party seized control over there.