Israel says it will stop making monthly transfers of tens of millions of dollars in tax rebates and other funds to the Palestinian Authority, if Hamas takes control of the Palestinian government.
The Israeli position was put forward by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who spoke at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Mr. Olmert said Israel has no intention of transferring monies that will be used for terrorism. Hamas, which trounced the ruling Fatah party in legislative elections last week, has claimed dozens of suicide bombings against Israel and has vowed to destroy the Jewish state. Ms. Merkel said the European Union, like Israel, could not fund a Hamas-run Palestinian government, unless the group renounces violence and acknowledges Israel's right to exist. The joint comments came as a host of Western governments work to implement new policy toward a Palestinian government expected to be dominated by Hamas.