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Hamas Calls Threats Of Aid Cuts “Blackmail”

You see, if the West refuses to send Hamas billions of dollars, it’s "blackmail."

From those lovers of terrorism at the AFP:

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal says the attempts by the West to force change on Hamas are doomed to failure.

Hamas accuses West of blackmail over aid threat

GAZA CITY (AFP) – Hamas has accused the West of blackmail after the major players in the peace process told it to renounce violence and recognise Israel’s right to exist or else see funding to the Palestinians cut.

European Union and Russia (known as the Middle East quartet) warned at talks in London on Monday that payments could be slashed if the winner of last week’s general election did not radically alter its principles before entering government.

The victory of the radical Islamist movement, behind dozens of suicide attacks in a five-year uprising, has already led Israel to warn that it will have no dealings with a Palestinian Authority which includes "terrorists" and to sit on customs revenues that it should hand over.

Hamas has made clear that its embrace of democracy will not lead it to give up its "right to resist Israeli occupation", even though it has not carried out any attacks for more than a year.

"The international aid which is offered to our people is a humanitarian need for the Palestinian people who are still living under Israeli occupation," Ismail Haniya, who led the list of Hamas candidates in last week’s election, told AFP.

" This aid should not be linked to unfair conditions," he added.

While funding would continue for the time being, the quartet said "it was inevitable that future assistance to any new government would be reviewed by donors against that government’s commitment to the principles of nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations."

Hamas’s overall leader, the Damascus-based Khaled Meshaal, said the attempts by the West to force change on Hamas were doomed to failure.

"Our message to the US and EU governments is this: your attempt to force us to give up our principles or our struggle is in vain," Meshaal wrote in Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

" Hamas is immune to bribery, intimidation and blackmail," he added.

Cracks were already showing Tuesday in the quartet’s united resolve, with Russian President Vladmir Putin saying the international community must continue to provide aid to the Palestinians despite Hamas’s victory.

"Refusal of aid to the Palestinian people would be a mistake in any event," Putin said at a news conference.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana had said in London that Hamas should be given some breathing space to change its hardline stance before the prospect of cuts would come into play.

Pressed on how long the European Union would be prepared to give Hamas, Solana said: "I think that it will depend how long it takes in time for the formation of the government."

"According to the president (Mahmud Abbas), it will probably take about three months or something like that, in which the negotiation will have to take place between the president and the majority group."

"That is the time in which they have to clarify all these things. If we have not got any sign that they move in that direction it will be very difficult."

The EU has given about 500 million euros (613 million dollars) annually to the Palestinians since 2003, but the decisive win by Hamas has left the bloc in a quandary because the group figures on both US and EU terrorist blacklists.

The donor-dependent Palestinian Authority is already facing a financial headache in trying to find the money to pay salaries for January, a problem which Israel’s decision to suspend customs revenues payments will only exacerbate.

Two hundred million shekels (40 million dollars) were due to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday before Olmert’s announced that he would not "in any way to allow a situation in which money transferred by the government of Israel will somehow end up in the control of murderous elements."

I love it when news organizations put quotes around "terrorists." Of course they’d like to write "freedom fighters," but they dasn’t as yet.

But soon.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, January 31st, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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