Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during Sunday’s cabinet meeting that Israel will not compromise demands to denounce terror, annul the Hamas charter calling for Israel’s destruction and the upholding of the agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
“Without all these Israel will not hold negotiations or talks with the PA. These principles are accepted by the international community, and I do not plan to make any compromises on the matter,” Olmert said.
However, it remains unclear at this stage whether Olmert will announce the delaying of tax funds scheduled to be transferred to the PA this coming Wednesday.
During the meeting Olmert said Israel is trying to obtain a wide international consensus, based around the demand for Hamas to disarm.
“We will not accept an Authority that is comprised partly of an armed organization,” he told the ministers, adding that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Jordan’s King Abdullah, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac are all understanding of Israel’s stance.
Minister-without-portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi reiterated Olmert’s position, saying Israel will not hold talks with the Palestinian Authority should members of Hamas occupy positions in its ranks.
Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin, addressing government ministers, said that "it was still too early to assess the significance of the Hamas victory. We must examine the developments in accordance with the way the PA is conducted.
Qassam attacks continue
Speaking at the cabinet meeting Hanegbi added that it is early to decide whether to transfer taxes to the Palestinian Authority.
The government is being held in the shadow of concern over the escalation of tensions in the Middle East following the Hamas victory.
Olmert, together with Foreign minister Tzipi Livni, are expected to survey Israel's diplomatic activity over the weekend. They both held discussions with leaders and foreign ministers around the world, including Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan.
Olmert is set to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday evening, and the two are expected to announce the continuation of international pressure.
Livni and Israeli ambassadors around the world are expected to work towards achieving an international coalition against the Hamas leadership in the PA, ahead of a meeting of the Quartet and Western foreign ministers this week. Olmert will also request a conversation with U.S. President George Bush, in order to consolidate unity in the effort to pressurize the Palestinians.
The government is meeting under the shadow of Qassam rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel over the weekend. One rocket fell in the western Negev and two fell south of Ashkelon.
Security officials believe the rockets were fired by Fatah members embittered by their elections loss. Jerusalem is preparing to demand action by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to stop the rockets.