Daily Israel Report

Hamas Presents its Terrorist Governmment

The new Hamas government presented to Abu Mazen for his approval is a sign that the Palestinian Authority is becoming a terrorist authority, says Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/20/2006, 7:40 AM / Last Update: 3/20/2006, 10:08 AM

Just hours after prime minister-designate Ismail Haniye presented his new Hamas government last night, the Hamas Authority reports that two Arabs were wounded or killed in an attempt to take over the Gaza Electric Plant.

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz says that the Hamas government guidelines indicate that the Palestinian Authority is on its way to becoming a "terrorist authority."

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer said that in the near future there will no longer be any American "peace diplomacy," but rather "preventative diplomacy."

The Hamas government, as presented to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), includes 24 ministers - all members or sympathizers of Hamas - including Mahmoud A-Zahar as Foreign Minister, as well as a Christian and a woman. Its guidelines state: "Resistance [i.e., military or terrorist actions against Israel] in all ways is a legitimate right of the Palestinian nation... The Jewish settlements must be destroyed... An independent Palestinian nation must be established, with Jerusalem as its capital."

The guidelines do not meet any of the conditions set by Israel or the Quartet - namely, recognition of Israel, abandonment of terrorism and violence, and acceptance of the previous agreements signed with Israel.

Mofaz said the new Hamas government is a test for Abu Mazen, whose approval of the new government is a prerequisite for its existence. "He must now decide whether he wants to be relevant or not," Mofaz said.

Senior PA figure Saeb Erekat said today that he assumes that Abu Mazen will, in fact, approve the Hamas government. The new government must also be approved by the PA's legislature and be sworn in by the legislature's speaker.

Off the record, Israeli security sources said this morning that Israel is likely to cut off all relations with the PA if in fact the Hamas government is approved.

Arab affairs expert Dr. Guy Bechor of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya told Israel Radio yesterday, "The Palestinian people, by voting Hamas into power, essentially told the PA leadership, 'We don't want your peace with Israel.'"