Israeli Cabinet Announces Measures in Reaction to Hamas Election Victory
1. Ministers were briefed on Palestinian affairs following the Palestinian Authority (PA) elections and determined policy in light of the swearing-in of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
Acting Prime Minister Olmert made the following remarks:
"From Israel 's point-of-view, a new situation has been created. Israel has defined threshold conditions for holding contacts with Palestinians in the Hamas administration and it will continue to act accordingly. Israel has proven that it is interested in acting on behalf of regional peace and stability. The disengagement is a main example of this, at the base of which lies the desire to have here two states for two peoples living side-by-side in stability, security, and peace. Of course, Israel will continue to see to the personal security of Israeli citizens and will not compromise on this issue now or in the future.
"It is clear that in light of the Hamas majority in the PLC and the instructions to form a new government that were given to the head of Hamas, the PA is - in practice - becoming a terrorist authority. The State of Israel will not agree to this. Israel will not compromise with terrorism and will continue to fight it with full force. However, there is no intention of harming the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population. Israel will not hold contacts with the administration in which Hamas plays any part - small, large, or permanent.
"From our point-of-view, the swearing-in of the PLC means that Hamas has - in effect - taken control of the PA. Israel views the rise of Hamas as a dangerous milestone that turns the PA into a terrorist authority. This new situation will influence the future of Israeli-PA relations and will begin a period in which ties with the PA are downgraded, unless Hamas fully accepts the principles that the international community has presented to it: Recognition of the State of Israel and abrogation of the Hamas Covenant, the renunciation of terrorism and the dismantling of terrorist infrastructures (by adopting the Roadmap and accepting its principles), and recognizing all understandings and agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.
"It must be pointed out that the international community's point-of-reference is the day on which a Palestinian government is formed. Until then, the international community will continue to see it as the main address, including that regarding the continued transfer of financial assistance. The US and the EU include Hamas on their lists of terrorist organizations and are refraining - at this stage - from any contacts with it. We will continue to demand that the PA fully honor the three conditions that the international community has set before it.
"Until this happens, we will take a series of steps, some of which we will decide on today. In any case, Israel has no intention of bringing about the collapse of civil frameworks and creating a humanitarian crisis in the PA. Israel will continue to act determinedly against terrorism and against terrorists. The new situation, in which Hamas members have been elected to the PLC, does not change this."
OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yedlin, ISA Director Yuval Diskin, National Security Council Chairman Giora Eiland, and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yosef Mishlav briefed ministers on the results of the recent PA elections.
The cabinet decided as follows:
"The establishment of the Palestinian Parliament (18.2.06) controlled by a Hamas majority and the conclusion, expected shortly, of the caretaker government, will transform the Palestinian Authority into a terrorist authority, unless the Hamas, which controls the Palestinian Authority, fully accepts the three conditions determined by Israel and approved in the Quartet statement.
- Recognition of the State of Israel and cancellation of the Hamas Charter.
- Abandoning the path of terrorism and dismantling terrorist infrastructure.
- Recognition of agreements and understandings between Israel and the Palestinians.
A. Therefore, the government of Israel immediately decides on a series of steps, at this stage, towards the Palestinian Authority as follows:
1. Towards the conclusion of the caretaker government, money will not be transferred from Israel to the Palestinian Authority.
2. Israel will approach the international community, so that with the end of the caretaker government, the international community will discontinue all financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, not including humanitarian assistance provided directly to the Palestinian population.
In this regard, Israel will expand its assistance for the operations of humanitarian organizations that work with assisting the Palestinian population.
3. Prevention of transferring any means or assistance to the Palestinian security organizations.
4. Crossings will be prevented and movement will be restricted of people affiliated with Hamas, including those elected to the Palestinian Parliament, in all areas under Israeli control.
5. In light of the heightened security risk, security checks at crossing points will be strengthened, specifically at Erez and Karni, in relation to people, workers and goods. Likewise, efforts to upgrade the crossings in Gaza will be continued in order to improve efficiency in security supervision.