US launches campaign to prevent int'l aid to Hamas

The Bush administration launched on Monday a campaign to reverse creeping assistance to the Hamas-led Palestinian government while endorsing help to the Palestinian people themselves. The campaign is directed initially at countries already primed to contribute to the Palestinian government. On Monday, oil-rich Qatar said it would contribute $50 million to help make up for a US and European cutoff. Russia, which had appeared to be in agreement with the United States, the European Union and Canada in denying aid to the government until Hamas renounces terrorism and accepts Israel existence, pledged unspecified, urgent aid last week. Iran said on Sunday it would contribute $50 million.