Israel to release Palestinian money

Withheld revenue amounting to $350m to be released to Abbas' emergency cabinet.

    The funds to the Fatah-led cabinet are part of an effort to limit Hamas, who recently took Gaza [AFP]

    Your Views

    "The refusal by the US, EU et al to deal with Hamas reflects their disrespect for the wishes of the Palestinian people"

    Elise, Bemidji, US

    Send us your views

    If you are in the Gaza Strip, you can also mail your opinions to:
    Gazacrisis@aljazeera.net 

    The cabinet decision also clears the way for Israel to resume tax revenue transfers to the Palestinians, which are worth about $50m a month.

     

    However, Palestinian officials from both Hamas and Fatah have criticised the Israeli decision, calling the release of the funds conditional and insufficient.

     

    "Is Israel releasing the money for free? No. It is in return for Abbas destroying Hamas and the resistance," Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said.

     

    Israel says courts have frozen some of the funds to cover Palestinian debts, but a senior Abbas aide said Israel should release the full $700m fund reserve.

     

    Saeb Erekat said: "The Israelis should release all our money. These are Palestinian, not Israeli, funds."

     

    Fatah support

     

    Olmert is likely to announce a wider package of measures to boost Abbas at a summit in Egypt on Monday.

     

    Israel wants to isolate Hamas economically, diplomatically and militarily in the Gaza Strip, which Hamas seized control of more than a week ago.

     

    Abbas' Fatah movement continues to maintain a strong security presence in the larger West Bank territory.

     

    Olmert said: "We will attempt in a sober and cautious manner to take advantage of the opportunities created as a result of the recent events in the Gaza Strip, in order to build a diplomatic process with the Palestinians."

     

    It was not immediately clear if the Israeli cabinet also approved proposals to ease travel restrictions for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

     

    Hamas ignored

     

    Speaking before his meeting with Abbas on Monday, Olmert said he would present Israel's security demands to the Palestinian president.

     

    Hamas has not been invited to the meeting at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which will also be attended by Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's president, and King Abdullah of Jordan.

     

    Olmert said he would signal Israel's "readiness to co-operate with a new government that is committed to the principles of the international community".

     

    The Israeli prime minister was referring to demands by the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators that Palestinians recognise Israel, renounce violence and abide by existing interim peace agreements.

     

    Hamas has refused to accept the demands set down by the Quartet, whose membership comprises the US, Russia, the EU and the UN.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.