'Abbas' moment of truth has arrived'

Security officials: Israel may end relations with PA if Abbas okays Hamas gov't.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 20, 2006 10:08
1 minute read.
worried look

haniyeh 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

Security officials warned Monday morning against the diplomatic fallout from the government presented Sunday to PA President Mahmoud Abbas by incoming PA Prime Minister Isma'il Haniyeh. According to their comments, Israel may cut off all relations with the PA in light of the composition of the government, which was formed without building coalitions between Hamas and other Palestinian parties who demanded Hamas' recognition of the PLO and of previous deals made with Israel as a prerequisite for participation.

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Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Sunday night that "does not conceal their intentions and their basic principles, and is a bid to turn the Palestinian Authority into a terror authority." According to the defense minister, Abbas' moment of truth has arrived, and that he must decide whether or not he wants to be "relevant". Security officials warned that Abbas' acceptance of the Hamas-formed government will be a turning point in the relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer said that America has no intentions to continue with diplomatic efforts until the situation is clearer. "The goal of preventative diplomacy is to bar the further strengthening of Hamas. In the visible future, there will not be American peace diplomacy," Kurtzer said. Abbas is expected on Tuesday to present the government and the basic principles before the governing committee of the PLO, and they were later be passed on for review and approval by the Palestinian parliament. According to the Palestinian constitution, the new government can only begin functioning once it has received the chairman's okay. Sources close to Abbas said that although he strongly opposes Hamas' positions, he was expected to approve the government in order to add difficulty to the Hamas leadership. "I think that Abbas will give them a chance," said chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.


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