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'If Israel recognizes our rights and pledges to withdraw from all occupied lands, Hamas, and the Palestinian people together with it, will decide to halt armed resistance,' the radical Islamist group's supremo Khaled Meshaal said.
update: The NYT reports the US/Israeli response:
The United States and Israel are discussing ways to destabilize the Palestinian government so that newly elected Hamas officials will fail and elections will be called again, according to Israeli officials and Western diplomats.
The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a reformed and chastened Fatah movement.
Curiously, this coming a day or two after a report contradicting it utterly, it claims "The officials drafting the plan know that Hamas leaders have repeatedly rejected demands to change and do not expect Hamas to meet them."
The Palestinian Authority has a monthly cash deficit of some $60 million to $70 million after it receives between $50 million and $55 million a month from Israel in taxes and customs duties collected by Israeli officials at the borders but owed to the Palestinians.
Israel says it will cut off those payments once Hamas takes power, and put the money in escrow.
Well at least they're only stealing the taxes!
:: posted by buermann @ 2006-02-13 09:57:52 CST |