Dr. Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, called on the international community to continue financial aid to the Palestinian people, despite the fact that the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, is now a majority in the Palestinian Parliament since the January 25th elections.
Along with the German Foreign Minister, Frank Steinmeier, al-Kidwa held a press conference Tuesday challenging the US, the European Union, the World Bank and other countries and institutions that froze international aid to the Palestinian Authority after the election results were announced to find "a solution…allowing the international community to reconcile its political positions and for aid to the Palestinians to continue."
Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister, emphasized that "the German position does not differ from the European position," which requires that a Palestinian government recognize the state of Israel, halt violence and honor all existing agreements.
al-Kidwa, as a member of the previously ruling Fateh party, is working with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, also of Fateh, to try to hold onto negotiating positions with the Israeli authorities which have become extremely tenuous due to the election of Hamas. The Israeli Defense Minister announced Tuesday that the Palestinian government, with Hamas in power, is now part of the ‘Axis of Evil’ including Syria and Iran.
The Hamas Party, for its part, has reiterated its position that the onus is on Israel to ‘recognize itself as a state’ and define its borders, before Palestinians can be asked to recognize it as well.
Party leaders also emphasized that they have other sources of funding and are not dependent on US or EU aid. Khaled Mashaal, in a rally Tuesday in the Sudan, collected hundreds of thousands of dollars and gold from supporters, saying, “this support is a message to the West; they will see the Muslims’ support from all over the world and stop the threats and manipulations." He also announced the launch of a campaign to raise millions of dollars in aid money, mainly from Muslim nations, to make up the budget shortfall caused by the US and EU aid withdrawal.