Israeli Minister for Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni stated on Sunday that Israel was not going to support the Palestinian economy financially. On February 19 Israel indefinitely suspended tax and customs payments to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian budget will thus lose up to $50 million every month because of this measure. Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip will be denied Israeli entry. To crown it all, the communication between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank of Jordan will be closed.
The Israeli government stands against the construction of a sea port and an airport in the Gaza Strip, nor does it support assistance to Palestine from foreign countries. Israel strongly condemns arms deliveries to the Palestinian Authority as well.
Acting Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert stated at the session of the Cabinet of Ministers that the boycott of Hamas did not mean that Israel was trying to punish the Palestinian nation on the whole. According to the official, Israel will not block the humanitarian aid to Palestine. “Nevertheless, we have decided to end all contacts with Palestinians because the Palestinian Authority has turned into the state of terror,” the minister said.
The press service of Avigdor Liberman, the leader of the Our House Israel Party, told the Vremya Novostei newspaper that they approved the above-mentioned decisions. “One has to toughen Israel's measures against the authority not to aggravate the situation in the field of security. “The Gaza Strip needs to be cut from electric power and water supplies in the first place,” a spokesperson told the newspaper.
Israeli leftist politicians, however, criticize the decision of the Israeli government. The chairman of Meretz Party, Yossi Beilin, stated that the government of Israel will lose its last chance to show pressure on Hamas as it breaks ties with Palestine.
The US administration has supported Israel in its aspiration to boycott Hamas' government. Furthermore, the Palestinian administration had to return $50 million to the USA. The money should have been used for the implementation of the civil infrastructure projects in the Gaza Strip. Washington demanded the return of the funds not to let the money be wired to Hamas’ accounts.
In addition to economic sanctions, Israel takes measures to strengthen the security of Israeli posts on the border with Palestine. Israeli pilots killed two Palestinian gunmen two days ago when they were placing a bomb near one of the checkpoints in the southern region of the Gaza Strip.
The measures against Palestine have been taken after the first session of the new Palestinian parliament. The PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas urged Hamas leaders to observe all agreements with Israel. When Abbas finished his speech the room was filled with cheers of disapproval. “Hamas is Hamas. We have not come to power to change and acknowledge Israel,” one of Hamas leaders said.
Ismail Haniya, 44, has become the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. According to the law, Haniya will set up the new Cabinet of Ministers during the forthcoming three weeks. If Mahmoud Abbas does not approve the new government, the prime minister will have to nominate another government staff.
Ismail Haniya is not such a pragmatic politician as foreign media portray him to be, Israeli newspaper write. Haniya was born in 1962 in the Gaza Strip. Haniya has been convicted of terrorist activities three times. Haniya worked as an assistant of Hamas sheikh Ahmad Yasin before 2004, when the sheikh was killed with an Israeli missile.