Da The Daily Star del 20/03/2006
Originale su http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=10&article_ID=2...

Hamas presents Abbas with one-color Cabinet

Olmert: seized palestinians to be tried

GAZA: Hamas presented its Cabinet to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday after the Islamic militant group failed to persuade any rival factions to join a government Israel and the U.S. have pledged to shun. Hamas' plan to appoint party loyalists to top ministerial posts, in the absence of coalition partners, was an early signal of the success of Israeli and U.S. efforts to isolate the Palestinian election victor sworn to Israel's destruction.

Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniyya gave the Hamas Cabinet list to Abbas in Gaza as reporters looked on.

Officials from Abbas' Fatah faction said he would not try to block parliamentary approval of the government but would issue a letter detailing his reservations about its policies.

Moderate parties had come under U.S. pressure to shun an administration led by Hamas, which has rejected demands that it recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept interim peace accords - conditions for continued Western aid.

However, during a visit from the Austrian president, Saudi officials said they would continue to fund the Palestinian Authority.

Hamas, which eclipsed the long-dominant Fatah faction in the January 25 polls, completed its Cabinet just over a week before Israel's own general elections on March 28.

Abbas said before meeting Haniyya that Parliament would convene soon for a vote of confidence in the new government.

"I think the president will give them a chance," said senior Palestinian negotiator and Abbas confidant Saeb Erekat.But Erekat said Abbas, an advocate of a negotiated settlement with Israel, could exercise his constitutional right to fire the prime minister in the event of a crisis, such as a freezing of international aid.

In talks with Hamas before the Abbas-Haniyya meeting, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it had turned down an offer to join the government, becoming the last faction to give a final "no."

Jamil al-Majdalawi, a PFLP leader, told Reuters that Hamas' political platform did not include "a fundamental point for us - that the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) is the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people."

At U.S.-sponsored talks near Tel Aviv on Sunday, Israel and the Palestinians decided to make new arrangements for basic foodstuffs to enter Gaza to ward off a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, said Erekat, who took part in the meeting.

Palestinians in Gaza have reported shortages of bread and other staples as a result of Israel's off-and-on closure of the Karni terminal that handles most goods moving between the Gaza Strip and the Jewish state.

Israel has cited security concerns for shutting Karni, which it has kept closed since March 13, and said it has no immediate plans to reopen it.

It proposed a limited transfer of goods at another crossing point, at Kerem Shalom, inside Israel, at the corner of the border with Gaza and Egypt. Palestinians have said Kerem Shalom is too small to meet the needs of 1.4 million Gazans.

But after talks at the residence of the American ambassador to Israel, Erekat said: "We decided on an Egyptian-Palestinian-U.S. meeting to agree on arrangements for goods to enter [Gaza] through Kerem Shalom."

He gave no date for the meeting but Israel Radio said Israel would let flour and other basic goods be taken into the Gaza Strip from Monday.

Israel has said it will not deal with a Hamas government but will not restrict humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Palestinian said militants seized by Israeli troops in a West Bank prison raid and suspected of killing an Israeli minister will be put on trial in Israel.

"These are killers and of course we will try them in an Israeli court," Olmert, speaking from Jerusalem, said during an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.

Olmert dismissed any notion of a Palestinian court's conviction in 2002 of the four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) for the killing of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeev in 2001 ruled out any trial in Israel.

"They were convicted by Palestinian courts in a hearing that lasted 20 minutes," Olmert said. "It was a farce. It was not a democratic court. They will be tried as they ought to be, that is what the Israeli government has decided, in an Israeli court."

The four men, along with PFLP leader Ahmad Saadat, were seized by Israeli forces that raided the Jericho prison Tuesday after U.S. and British monitors supervising their incarceration left the facility.

A Palestinian prisoner who was wounded by Israeli gunfire during the raid died Sunday of his wounds, medical and security sources said.

The death of Brahim Hamad, 20, brings the total number of Palestinians killed in the storming of the West Bank prison to three.

Based on an AFP count, 4,982 people have been killed since the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in 2000. Over three-quarters of the victims have been Palestinian.

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