Javier Solana, European Union foreign policy Chief, said on Sunday that the E.U could stop its millions of dollars aide to the Palestinian Authority if Hamas wins the upcoming legislative elections, and fails to renounce violence.
Solanas statement came after the movement succeeded in winning elections in several West Bank cities last week, achieving a large victory at the expence of the Fateh ruling party which is suffering from nternal divisions.
Solana said during a press conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday that “parties which do not condemn violence cannot be considered future peace partners.
He added that a future P.A administration “which does not clearly reject violence and does not recognize Israel’s right to exists”, cannot continue receiving $312 million of E.U funding in 2006.
“It would be very difficult for the help and the money that goes to the Palestinian Authority to continue to flow if Hamas is in power” he said, “Taxpayers in the European Union, members of the parliament of the European Union, will not be in a position to sustain that type of political activity”.
The Palestinian Authority relies on the international community for nearly half of their annual operating budget as a result of the Israeli policies of closure and as a result of continuous military operations.
Meanwhile, officials of Fateh rejected the U.S decision which opposes the participation of Hamas in the upcoming Legislative Elections, and rejected the U.S Congress’ decision to call for a ban on Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections.
The Congress also voted to freeze aid to the PA if Hamas participates in the elections.
Hamas, in return, said that it will participate in the Palestinian parliamentary elections next month challenging the decision of the U.S. House of Representatives.
P.A spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said on Sunday that the lections will be held as scheduled, adding that the P.A cannot act against their democratic right to participate in the elections, and cannot exclude anybody.
"The legislative elections will be held as scheduled," PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said. "The democratic right to participate in the election is guaranteed by law. We cannot exclude anybody."
The U.S threatens to cut aid to P.A if Hamas runs in the elections
Saed Bannoura-IMEMC & Agencies – Saturday, 17 December 2005, 11:24
The United States House of Representatives said that Palestinian Authority (P.A) risks losing the U.S support if it allows Hamas to participate in the January 2006 Legislative elections.
The House also urged the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to dismantle all armed resistance factions.
The resolution passed on Friday in a 397-17 vote; it also urged Abbas to declare that he intends to dismantle all resistance factions before the vote.
Also, the House added that the participation of Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian government will undermine the ability of the U.S to have a “constructive relation” or provide future assistance to the P.A.
Tom Lantos, a representative of the top democrat on the House International Relations Committee, said that Hamas, which is listed by the U.S state department as a terrorist organization, might win more than a quarter of the 132 seats of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
On the ground, Hamas is achieving big victories in the local councils elections; it managed recently to defeat Fateh in Jenin, Nablus, and Al Biereh, while the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine won the elections in Ramallah.
The most noticeable victory of Hamas is in Nablus, a city which was considered for a long period as the stronghold of the ruling Fateh party.
Sean McCormack, US State Department spokesperson, said on Thursday that there is a fundamental contradiction in the participation of Hamas, “a movement which is involved in terrorism, and wants to participate in the political life”, according to McCormack.
He added that the U.S policy on Hamas did not change, it considers the movement as a terrorist organization, and will not deal with it.
Meanwhile, Lantos said that Hamas is not qualified to run the election since “the movement is considered a terrorist organization, and it denies Israel’s rights to exist”, according to Lantos.
He also made the charge that there is a third reason barring the movement from participating in the upcoming elections, saying that Hamas is a “fundamentalist and a jihadist organization”.
Also, Rep Ileanna Ros-Lehtinen, chairman of the House International Relations subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, claimed that Hamas is trying to “hijack the elections”, and added that this resolution stands against the attempts of what she described as “the murderous Islamic extremist organizations”
The U.S President George W. Bush claimed that Hamas is a terrorist organization which is “preparing for a future of oppression and misery.”