[ Via Reuters. ]
Hamas made its first parliamentary appointments on Wednesday Feb 15, 2006 as Israel prepared to decide on its strategy toward the Palestinians after the Islamic militant group takes up the reins of power. It named Mahmoud al-Zahar from Gaza, one of its most hardliner leaders, as head of the Hamas majority faction in the legislature, which convenes on Saturday Feb 18, 2006 for its first session since the group won the Jan 25 Palestinian election.
Hamas chose Aziz Dweik, from the West Bank, as parliamentary speaker. As the leader of parliament, Dweik would become interim president, pending an election within 60 days, in the event of the death, resignation or incapacitation of President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah faction.
The appointments raised speculation that Hamas would choose another of its leaders, Ismail Haniyeh, as prime minister. A Gazan, he is viewed by Palestinians as a pragmatist who has forged good relations with rival factions.
Hamas officials have said they expect the group to announce it choice for the post as early as Saturday or Sunday, after parliament convenes and before Israel holds its own election on March 28.
With the clock ticking toward formation of a Palestinian government, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni summoned advisers for consultations, that one official said would focus on "funding for the Palestinian Authority in the Hamas era".
Israeli officials have said Israel is trying to persuade donor nations to cut off support for the Palestinian Authority once a parliament dominated by Hamas is sworn in. Hamas's charter calls for Israel's destruction.
The United States and Israel hope to isolate a Palestinian government headed by Hamas financially and diplomatically to pressure it to renounce violence, recognize the Jewish state and honor interim peace agreements, the Israeli officials said.
Palestinians receive about $1 billion a year from all donors and the Palestinian Authority requires at least $100 million a month. Palestinian officials have said they expect Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Arab states to boost the amount of support they provide to the authority in the coming months.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz planned to convene his advisers on Thursday to discuss security policy toward the Palestinians with Hamas in the government.Hamas has masterminded nearly 60 suicide bombings against Israelis since a Palestinian uprising began in 2000, but has largely adhered to a truce declared last March.
Israeli security sources said proposals could include a tightening of travel restrictions for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where Israel is building a barrier it says is vital to its security and the World Court has deemed illegal.
It shows US and Israel are nothing more than unsecured misled associates, war mongers and the mordern Pharoah in actions.