Daily Israel Report

Mofaz: PA Under Hamas Puts Iran Just Outside Tel Aviv

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz told U.S. envoy David Welch on Sunday that the Hamas and its sponsor in Iran were attempting to create “an axis of evil, here,” on Israel’s doorstep.
By Scott Shiloh
First Publish: 2/26/2006, 2:23 PM / Last Update: 2/26/2006, 3:45 PM

Mofaz said, “The latest contacts between the Hamas and Iran, and Khaled Mashal’s trip to Teheran to obtain Iranian support and to create an alliance, brings the axis of evil of Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, and Hamas, right here.”

Mofaz told Welch that the Hamas had specific plans to intensify its relationship with Iran and Hizbullah. “We know about their intentions,” said Mofaz, “and Israel cannot agree to that.”

Despite veiled hints that Hamas might accept Israel de facto within its pre-1967 borders, Mofaz said Israel would not be amenable to any negotiations with the terror group which won a landslide victory against the Fatah in Palestinian Authority elections last month. He called the Hamas approach, “sweet talk.”

“We saw this in interviews in the American press over the weekend, but the facts are simple. That the Hamas has not accepted any conditions, exposes their true intentions. The Hamas plan is to take control of the PA in stages, setting up the government, taking control of the security forces, and following that, control of the entire PA, an act that will turn the PA into Hamastan,” the Defense Minister explained.

Under the Oslo accords, the PA controls territories in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. Some of those territories are located only a few miles from the heavily populated Tel Aviv area, Israel’s commercial and industrial center.

Regarding the transfer of funds to the PA, Mofaz echoed the new State Department line that Israel would not totally cut off funds to the PA, but rather will examine projects on a case-by-case basis. “The right mechanism is to check its project separately and transfer money after each one is carefully examined,” he said.

Welch met yesterday with Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, telling him the United States was committed to continue providing humanitarian assistance to the PA. Abbas, who won the post of PA president in an earlier election, is the head of the Fatah party.

It is uncertain whether Abbas will continue in his post after the Hamas forms a new government. Hamas’ leader abroad Khaled Mashal said from Damascus, "There is a real chance for dealing with Abu Mazen, and there is no need for such threats to quit.”

Abbas, on the other hand, told Britain’s ITV on Sunday that once the Hamas forms a government, “we could reach a point where I cannot perform my duty."