Palestinian PM says US blocks attempts to pay government employees
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said Wednesday that U.S. pressure foiled the latest attempt to pay 165,000 government employees by transferring money from abroad directly into their accounts. Haniyeh also appealed to Arab nations to counter the U.S. measures, the AP reported.
Haniyeh told a news conference that the Hamas-led government had raised money, but so far has not found a way to get it into the Palestinian areas. "We have given alternative suggestions and plans, including what has been reported about sending the lists of the employees to the Arab League to have a direct transfer to their accounts," Haniyeh stated. "We even faced American pressure to prevent the direct transfer."
Haniyeh urged Arab leaders to face up to the Americans "to stop the siege imposed on the Palestinian people and to stop the political blackmail against the government." He also called on Palestinian bankers to "show the necessary patriotism."
Haniyeh also spoke against incoming Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to draw the border between Israel and the West Bank unilaterally if peace talks are unsuccessful. "We are in favor of any Israeli withdrawal," Haniyeh said. "If they are going to leave our land, we are not going to run after them and ask them to come back. This does not mean we are going to accept a de facto policy."