EU commissioner to Israel for talks on aid plan

The EU's foreign relations commissioner was to travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories for talks on an internationally backed plan to channel critical aid to cash-starved Palestinians while maintaining a funding freeze on the Hamas-led government, officials said Sunday. External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner was to meet on Monday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and hold separate talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to go over the details of the plan to resume some aid to the Palestinians, including for health care, utilities and social services. "She will not meet any member of the Hamas-led government," the European Commission said in a statement. Ferrero-Waldner said some parts of the so-called funding mechanism "will be launched immediately, with the aim of making payments to individuals by early July."