Arutz Sheva February 25, 2006
The United States has decided to continue aid to the Palestinian Authority, headed by the Hamas Islamic terrorist group, which enjoys ties with Iran and Al Qaeda.
PA official Saeb Erekat announced Saturday that the U.S. State Department had promised him that America would not freeze aid to the Arabs of the PA-controlled areas, but would merely redirect it. Erekat made the announcement after meeting with State Department official David Welch. â€œ[The United states has] never transferred a single dollar to the Palestinian Authority directly. The money was being transferred via non-governmental organizations,â€ said Erekat, adding that such an arrangement would continue regardless of Hamas’s actions. Welch refused to speak with reporters.
Erekatâ€™s words contrast those of U.S. President George W. Bush, who said Friday that Hamas would have to recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce terrorism and strive toward peace if they wished to receive U.S. aid.
Both the U.S. and European Union continue to list Hamas as a terrorist organization. Senior Hamas official Dr. Nizar Rian himself said at a Hamas rally in northern Gaza Friday, “The fact we engage in political negotiations does not imply we are not busy in preparations for the Palestinians resistance against the crimes of the occupationâ€¦”
Meretz-Yahad Chairman Dr. Yossi Beilin also met with Erekat, on Friday. Erekat suggested to Beilin that permanent-status talks be held between Israel and the PA following the upcoming Israeli elections, after which the results would be brought before PA residents in a referendum. After the meeting, Beilin said that he “estimates” that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas would resign after the Israeli elections if Israel shows no willingness to compromise further its position. â€œSo, those who do not want negotiations with Abbas will get a Hamas representative such as Khaled Mashaal or Mahmoud al-Zahar heading the PA,â€ Beilin threatened.
The Olmert government, all the while, continues to allow PA Arabs from Gaza to enter Israel’s pre-1967 borders, despite earlier promises to close the borders and a specific recommendation by Israel’s security establishment last week.
At least 5,000 Gazan Arabs entered Israel during a single opening of the Erez Crossing last Thursday.