Photo: Yaron Brenner
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
Photo: Yaron Brenner
Photo: Reuters
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh
Photo: Reuters
Hamas sworn in – Israel to cut off funds
This coming Saturday, Palestinian parliament with Hamas majority will be sworn in; indications are Israel won't declare total cessation of contacts with the PA, but will cut off funds; international funding will still be permitted in order to prevent Iranian money filling the vacuum

Israel will agree for international funding to reach the Palestinian Authority, instead of the tax and customs funds which will apparently be frozen to a Hamas controlled Palestinian parliament, sworn in this Saturday.


The aim is to prevent funding of the PA by Iran, or moneys collected by radical Islamist movements around the world.


These are some of the recommendations formulated in the office of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni in Tel Aviv.


Among others, the meeting was attended by the Head of the National Security Council, Major General Giora Eiland, Amos Gilad of the Ministry of Defense, advisors Dov Weisglass and Shalom Turgeman of the Prime Minister's Office, and representatives from the Mossad, the Shin Bet, and the IDF.


Last weekend, James Wolfensohn, the US's ambassador to the Quartet, set out for the Persian Gulf in order to draft funds for the Palestinian Authority.


‘Unified front against Hamas will crumble’


The Quartet plans on finding sources for budgets to fund welfare organizations and humanitarian groups in the territories.


Some of the money raised will fund salaries for PA workers and civilians, in order to aid the Palestinian population, after Israel freezes funds to the PA, around USD 50 million a month.


After the meeting, it is believed that Israel will stop the flow of funds following the swearing in of the Hamas parliament.


Meanwhile, a security-based meeting will take place at the office of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, in order to examine the consequences of the Hamas takeover on the parliament and on the Palestinian government.


Diplomatic sources say they believe Israel will not declare a total cessation of contacts with the Palestinian Authority. They also said Israel will operate against the PA, but not against Palestinian civilians.


"If decisions which fare badly for civilians are implemented, it could boomerang against Israel," said one of the participants of the meeting in Livni's office.


"The international, unified front against Hamas that exists now will crumble, especially among European and Western countries, and Israel could be blamed for a situation of starvation and chaos which could break out among citizens of the Palestinian Authority. Therefore there must be a difference between steps against the PA which is controlled by Hamas, and humanitarian steps that will encourage the population to operate against the Islamic terrorist movement," he added. 


The political sources who took part in the meeting, quoted Weisglass as saying: "We must cause the Palestinians to become thinner, but not die."


Weisglass, responding to the source, said: "I never said such a thing."


First published: 15.02.06, 23:33
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