Monday, February 20, 2006

Hamas: We will bomb the hands that fund us and demand they use their bloody stumps to push money to us.
Israel halts funding to Palestinians

TEL AVIV -- The Israeli Cabinet voted yesterday to cut off all funding to the Palestinian Authority while acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the self-rule government -- now coming under Hamas control -- as a "terrorist authority…

Israel's economic sanctions, which freeze monthly transfers of as much as $50 million in Palestinian customs revenue, will create a financial crisis in the West Bank and Gaza unless the authority can find alternate sources of funding…"

The financial squeeze was worsened by a U.S. announcement Friday that it is asking the Palestinian Authority to return $50 million in U.S. aid…

"Israel won't transfer a penny to Hamas," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Gideon Meir. "Right now, there is no decision on the funds which will go to the humanitarian organizations. We're differentiating between the Palestinian people and the Palestinian government."

Under an economic agreement that followed the Oslo peace accords, Israeli customs officials agreed to collect duties on goods landed in Israel for delivery to the Palestinian territories and then transfer the proceeds to the Palestinian government.

While Hamas members have rejected the Oslo accords in the past, they now say they will cooperate with Israeli officials who provide services that benefit Palestinians.

Ismail Haniyeh, who was formally nominated yesterday as Hamas' candidate to become prime minister, pledged that the group would not cave in to international pressure to recognize Israel and renounce violence…

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