Abbas to meet with Hamas as UN slams Israel for payment freeze
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with Hamas representatives on Monday in the Gaza Strip Monday afternoon to discuss the formation of the new Palestinian government. Hamas has stated that it will seek to form a broad coalition government that will represent members from all Palestinian factions.
Hamas is in the process of gathering international support for the new government. So far, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has led a Palestinian delegation to Tehran and Syria to garner financial aid to replace funds withheld by Israel and the west. A trip to Kuwait is also planned in the near future for the same purpose.
However, a planned trip by Mashaal to Jordan has reportedly been cancelled by kingdom officials, who in 1998 banned Mashaal from Jordan.
Some $50 million is expected to be provided by the Arab League to cover the wages of government workers, according to Ynet, while Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has also agreed to help Hamas by donating one quarter of the group's revenue to help the new government.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to lobby Middle Eastern regimes to refrain from funding Hamas, which the US considers a terrorist group.
Rice is expected to visit Egypt on Tuesday and then travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
UN upset with Israel
Meanwhile, the United Nations has expressed dissatisfaction with Israel's move to retain monies its collects on behalf of the Palestinians. The Israeli decision comes in the wake of the ascension of Hamas—considered a terrorist entity by Israel—to the Palestinian government.
U.N. envoy Envoy Alvaro de Soto charged that the move contradicts a Quartet decision on the matter, referring to Israel's move as punitive measures that would result in an economic crisis for the Palestinians.