US seeks to increase indirect aid to Palestinians

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that during her upcoming visit to Indonesia, she'll ask the world's largest Muslim nation to reinforce the message that the Palestinians must remain committed to peace with Israel. The call comes in the face of the refusal by the militant Islamic group Hamas, which recently won control of the Palestinian Authority, to recognize Israel's right to exist. Meanwhile, Rice said Sunday, "We are looking at ways to even increase our humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people during this period of time." She spoke to reporters on a flight from Santiago, Chile, to Rio, for a refueling stop en route to Jakarta, Indonesia. While not specific, her comments suggested that the United States intends to replace money it once gave directly to the current moderate and secular Palestinian government with grants for charity work or other projects that are independent of the new government.