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Israel: Front against Hamas not breached

State accepts UK's clarifications following Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's remarks, unworried over what seems to be undermining of united front against Palestinian government; however, diplomatic officials concerned over Arab world's readiness to transfer funds to PA

The international front against Hamas has not been breached, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said Thursday, following recent statements by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw that the UK seeks 'normal relations' with the Hamas government, and consequent clarifications from Britain that Straw's words were taken out of context.


"We can be pleased with the world's stance against the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority," a senior Israeli official stated, adding that the preconditions for dialogue with Hamas remain intact.


However, the facts are hard to argue with: Straw's compliance with Hamas' leadership; visits by Hamas officials to Moscow and Ankara; and the willingness of South Africa, Venezuela and Norway to host Hamas delegates, are just a few examples.


"There is no breach in the dam, on the contrary. We find that there is complete agreement with Israel's position on the issue," a source in Jerusalem said. "Even if there are cases in which Hamas representatives are being invited to visit certain states, the meetings are held with the low ranks and are conducted in a bid to address humanitarian problems. The invitation is usually extended by parliament members who are in opposition to the government," he stated.


"In other cases, Hamas envoys meet with people from low ranks in countries that are not members of the European Union, such as Norway. And for example, only several days ago France denied visa a Hamas member that has been invited to the EU Council. This is the official stance of these states," he added.


Senior state officials on Thursday spoke to British Ambassador Simon McDonald, who made it clear that there is no change in Britain's policy toward the Hamas government. Moreover, he said, London stands behind the preconditions set by the United States and the European Union for holding a dialogue with the Hamas government: Recognizing Israel, renouncing terror and abiding by previous agreements signed by the Palestinian Authority.


'Most countries united against Hamas'


Israel accepted the British clarifications. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, in a meeting with European ambassadors, reiterated the need to stand firm and united opposite Hamas.


However, despite the relative satisfaction on the European level, Israel is following the Arab world with concern in light of Arab countries' plans to transfer money to the PA. Apart from Iran, which promised USD 50-100 million, Saudi Arabia recently said it would transfer a sum of USD 92 million, Qatar promised USD 50 million and the Arab League committed to a monthly sum of USD 55 million.


"In the meantime, the funds have not been transferred and steps have been taken to prevent it from reaching the PA's institutions and ensure that it only reaches humanitarian causes," a state official said.

Officials at the Prime Minister's Office also view the united international front against Hamas as an accomplishment, but are worried over what is happening in the Arab world.


"For now, as we have learned, there is no reason for concern. Most of the world's countries are united with us in the battle against the terrorist government," an official at Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said.


פרסום ראשון: 04.20.06, 14:20
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