European countries are currently formulating a plan that would see aid money transferred directly to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to circumvent Hamas, the New York Times reported Friday.
The proposal was raised by EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana following talks with heads of the Quartet – the United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations.
"We have to have a mechanism of financial support to President Abbas," Mr. Solana said. "We have to find a way to finance him and his structures because of his responsibilities as president of the Palestinian Authority and as the primary interlocutor with the international community."
Europe currently contributed about USD 600 million a year to the Palestinian Authority. Should Solana's proposal be adopted, it will mark a dramatic change in the international community attitude. Until now, outside contributors made sure to transfer funds directly to the Palestinian Authority.
Senior State Department source in Washington said the U.S. has not yet seen Solana's proposal. According to the source, the tactics adopted by the U.S. and Europe may be different but both parties are interested in convincing Hamas to change its positions.
The source added it was too early to know whether the proposal to transfer funds directly to Abbas would serve the objective of pushing Hamas to moderate.
Notably, Israel's decision to refrain from transferring funds to the PA in the wake of the recent swearing-in ceremony of a Hamas-dominated parliament was criticized by U.N. envoy to the Middle East Alvaro de Soto, who met earlier this week with government coordinator to the territories Major General Yosef Mishlav.
De Soto said the decision contradicts the Quartet's position on the matter.