Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman opposes Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's plan to transfer an assistance package to the Palestinians, Army Radio reported Friday. Olmert is expected to present the guidelines of his assistance plan next week at the planned Sharm el-Sheikh summit with King Abdullah of Jordan, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
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"Even if we provide Abu Mazen [Abbas] with F16s, he isn't capable, and doesn't have a chance to control Hamas," said the Israel Beiteinu chairman.
"It has already been proven that giving weapons and money to Fatah go towards strengthening terror and not towards fighting it," he said.
The recommendations reportedly include improving the weapons arsenal of Fatah and stepping up the moves to release frozen Palestinian tax funds and other actions that ease financially the position of Fatah, in an effort to strengthen it against its rival Hamas. In addition, Olmert was also considering easing travel restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers will meet Tuesday in Jerusalem, a Russian envoy said Friday, according to the Interfax news agency.
Sergei Yakovlev, a Russian Foreign Ministry envoy for Middle East peacemaking, said the envoys "will discuss the situation in the region, the talks for the Quartet and plans of action for the future," Interfax reported.
A higher-level meeting of officials from the Quartet - the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - will have taken place Monday in Egypt. That meeting was delayed to allow Quartet officials time to assess changes in the region after Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip.
The meeting will be of lower-level envoys, spokeswoman Miri Eisin said.