Photo: Ata Awisat
Will U.S. dollars fund Hamas?
Photo: Ata Awisat

Israel: U.S. money to fund terror

Israel concerned about American pledge to continue offering humanitarian assistance to Palestinians while circumventing Hamas; officials warn funds transferred directly to PA leader Abbas could reach Hamas

American aid could end up reaching Hamas despite American efforts to circumvent the terror group, Israeli officials say in the wake of a U.S. pledge to continue offering humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians.


Officials are expected to warn the U.S. that funds transferred directly to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas could nonetheless reach Hamas, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Sunday.


The warning follows reports that State Department official David Welch promised the Palestinians Washington would not freeze aid to the Palestinians, but rather, merely redirect it.


At this time both the Americans and Europeans are interested in boosting Abbas' position at the expense of Hamas, fearing the PA chairman could resign from his post otherwise, a move that would lead to the PA's collapse and a Hamas takeover of all government institutions.


However, Israeli officials are not satisfied with the American attitude. On Sunday, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz are scheduled to meet with Welch and ask for clarifications regarding the American pledge to continue directing funds to the PA.


The three senior officials will voice their concerns over the possibility of American funds being used to pay Hamas salaries or boost the group's military power.


Israel will also ask that the U.S. coordinate with it humanitarian aid to the Palestinians via international organizations so that every dollar transferred reaches its target.


Officials also intend to make it clear to the Americans they expect Washington to reject the possibility of a two-headed Palestinian Authority, that is, an Abbas-led regime that grants the Palestinians international legitimacy coexisting with a terrorist Hamas-led government that rejects basic preconditions set by the international community, namely the cessation of terror and recognition of Israel.


Ronny Shaked contributed to the story


פרסום ראשון: 02.26.06, 08:29
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