US, EU hold Palestinian aid hostage; Hamas rejects it as blackmail
Palestine-Israel-USA, Politics, 1/31/2006
The Islamic resistance movement Hamas rejected the statement by the so-called Quartet group, led by the US, which sponsors the Roadmap peace plan, and considered it as showing "the extent of blackmail and real ignorance" for the rights of the Palestinian people.
The US and EU have indicated they may cut economic aid to the Palestinians, if Hamas does not change some of its policies.
The spokesman for Hamas in Gaza, Mushir al-Masri, said that the statement issued following the Quartet meeting in London on Monday evening reflects continued double-standard policy by pressuring the Palestinians to be silent over the Israeli disregard to the agreement.
He stressed in a statement to al-Jazeera satellite TV on the need of honoring the results of the elections and the choice of the Palestinian people, adding that any support should be based on "rights, rather than blackmail." He indicated that the language of threats causes more tension in the region, stressing that Hamas is concerned with building bridges of confidence and civilized dialogue with Europe, but without any prior conditions set by them.
Replying to a question on the possibility of halting economic aid, al-Masri stressed that the Palestinians have resources which it seeks to control and develop. He also indicated the efforts of the movement to maintain contacts with the Arab and Islamic world as a strategic depth.
The mediation Quartet which is composed of the USA, the UN, the EU and Russia said that Hamas should "give up violence" and "admit" the rights of Israel to exist if it will take part in a Palestinian government.
The statement which was read by the UN secretary General Kofi Annan stressed that all members of the Palestinian government should accept the previous agreements and obligations including the Roadmap.
Annan explained that the donor states will reconsider their aid in light of the commitment of the new government to be formed by Hamas to these demands. He added "if Hamas converts itself from an armed movement to a political party honoring the rules of the game, I believe that the international community could deal with it."
After that, the EU foreign policy higher coordinator Javier Solana said that Hamas has two or three months to accept the demands of the Quartet.
He indicated in statements that the matter depends on the time needed for the formation of the government in the consultations between the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the parliamentary majority. Solana stressed that the European Union will be ready to work with Hamas if the movement responded positively to these demands.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkle pursued the same position taken by the Quartet. In a joint press conference with the Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas following their talks in Ramullah on Monday by demanding that continued European aid will be sent if Hamas meets US and European conditions.
On the other hand, Abbas stressed he will continue his term of office until the end of the year 2009 and he renewed his commitment to negotiate with Israel on the ground of the Roadmap. He also underlined the importance of continued financial aid and other forms of support by the donor states for the Palestinians. He added that such aid is vital for the plan to build the Palestinian state living in peace beside Israel.
In Brussels, the foreign minister of the European Union announced in an official statement the readiness of the EU to continue sending aid to the Palestinians if any government led by Hamas aimed to seek peace with Israel.
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