US and Israeli leaders pledged Tuesday to support the emergency Palestinian cabinet in the
West Bank, as Hamas accused the West of playing politics with aid after the Islamist group ousted its rivals from Gaza.
US President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert both gave strong backing to the cabinet appointed by moderate president Mahmud Abbas after Hamas’s takeover of Gaza as they held their third Washington talks in barely a year.
Bush said he hoped Abbas and his new US-educated prime minister Salam Fayyad “will be strengthened to the point where they can lead the Palestinians in a different direction.”
Olmert said: “I want to strengthen the moderates and cooperate” with Abbas, and raised the prospect of an easing of security controls in the occupied West Bank as well as the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues owed to the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas still refuses to recognize Abbas’s dismissal of the national unity government it led until last Thursday and accused the West of trying to manipulate Palestinian public opinion.
“By announcing their political and financial support for the Palestinian Authority, the West is backing an illegitimate government,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri charged.
Western support for Fayyad’s government was “an attempt to manipulate the Palestinian people and distance it from Hamas,” he said, adding that the strategy would not work.
Hamas’s seizure of Gaza after vicious street battles with Fatah loyalists that left more than 110 people dead has driven a deep wedge in Palestinian society.
So, Hams complains about playing politics?
Technorati Tags: Michael RamirezHamas, Fatah, Israel