Olmert: No separation between Abbas, Hamas
Acting PM tells U.S. envoy David Welch that 'there is no artificial separation between Abbas, authority ruled by Hamas;' Foreign Minister Livni says it would be 'mistake for international community to take comfort in Abbas' arms after Hamas' ascension to power'
Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday told Assistant U.S. Secretary of State David Welch that Israel sees "no separation between Abbas and the authority ruled by Hamas, and this must be understood and emphasized."
Olmert told Welch that Abbas represented an authority headed by Hamas. In talks between the two, Welch expressed concern for the humanitarian situation of citizens of the Palestinian Authority.
Olmert said that "Israel shares the same concern but this does not allow funds to be transferred directly to the Palestinian Authority."
At the Prime Minister's Office, sources said that the meeting between Welch and the Americans was based on a deep understanding over the issue of Hamas' ascension to power in the PA.
"If there are differences of opinion, they are marginal, and connected to the date from which the PA should be treated as an authority headed by Hamas," the source said.
While Israel believes that the swearing in of the PA parliament is the deciding date for changing its aid policy, the U.S. believes that the swearing in of the new government should be the deciding date.
The Prime Minister's Office said that in either case the PA has turned into a Hamas authority, which is obligated to meet the conditions of the international community.
"In either case it is not doing so and is therefore a terror authority," the source said.
Livni: Abbas can't be a covering
Earlier, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Welch during a meeting in Jerusalem that "Mahmoud Abbas can't be a covering for a terrorist authority."
"It would be a mistake if the international community takes comfort in the arms of Abbas after Hamas' ascension to power. Only a strong and aggressive message by the international community now will bring results in the future," she added.
According to Livni, "the Palestinian Authority is headed by a terrorist organization, and is therefore becoming a terror entity."
She added that "the ball is now in the Palestinian court. They must accept the four conditions of the international community, which are clear, inflexible, and not open to negotiations."
Sources in the Foreign Ministry said that Welch made it clear that the United States is not planning on giving money directly to the Palestinian Authority after the new government is sworn in.
Both Livni and Welch distinguished between the PA and the Palestinian population and clarified that there was no intention of punishing the Palestinian civilians for their choice of a terrorist organization.
On the humanitarian level, Israel will not object to the transfer of funds, and will monitor the funds to ensure that every dollar reaches its humanitarian destination.