Palestinian PM-designate unfazed by Israeli sanctions
As of Sunday, Israel is gradually cutting ties with the Palestinian Authority, in response to Hamas' rise to power. Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel will not have any contact with a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. "This morning I am submitting a detailed resolution on taking steps against the Hamas-led Authority. We have already declared a halt in fund transfers," Olmert said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, Ynetnews reported. He added that a new situation of a "terrorist authority" has been created, which Israel cannot accept.
Olmert said Israel has proven its "willingness to work toward peace" and the establishment of two states for two nations living side by side in peace and security. “Israel will continue to provide protection for its citizens and will not compromise on this issue,” he said.
“The Palestinian Authority is in effect becoming a terrorist authority. Israel cannot accept this. Israel will not compromise with terror and will keep fighting it with full force. However, we do not wish to harm Palestinian civilians. We will not have any contact with a Hamas-led PA.”
Later Olmert said that a process of reducing contact with the PA will begin unless Hamas accepts three basic terms: Recognition of Israel, the dismantling of "terror" organizations and the acceptance of previous agreements reached between the PA and Israel.
“The U.S. and the EU have included Hamas in their list of terror organizations and are refraining from holding talks with the group,” he said.
During its weekly meeting, the Israeli cabinet decided to halt the transfer of some 50 million dollars in monthly tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
Abdel Aziz Duaik, the new Palestinian parliament speaker, called on Israel to reconsider its decision. "This is a faulty decision, and the Israelis must reconsider their decision ... It will only increase hatred," he said.
Hamas names PM
Dr. Salah Al-Bardawil, spokesman of the Hamas parliamentary bloc in the PLC, on Sunday declared that his Movement nominated Ismail Haniyeh to form the new PA government. Bardawil, in a statement to the PIC, said that the meeting between Hamas and PA president Mahmoud Abbas would focus on the cabinet formation.
He clarified that Hamas institutions within and outside the occupied homeland in addition to Hamas prisoners all nominated Haniyeh to the post.
Reacting to the latest Israeli move, Haniyeh said the decision to halt the transfer of funds "does not scare the Palestinian people." He added Israel's new sanctions "were meant to force the Palestinians down to their knees ... we've handled challenges in the past and we will be able to stand up to future challenges as well."
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- Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister: Hamas wants to end fight with Israel