Hamas’ surprise victory in the Palestinian Parliament elections last Wednesday, caused international concern as Hamas’ political and militant wings now control 74 of 132 seats in the Palestinian government. Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) asked the international community not to cut off its aid to the Palestinian Authority assuring the Quartet that it would be used for social relief and salaries, but not for terror. The European Union wants Hamas to clarify its political intentions before the EU decides whether to continue a multi-million dollar aid program. Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said that a hudna, or long-term truce, is possible if Israel withdraws to its pre-1967 borders and releases Palestinian prisoners. But when asked in a CNN interview about Hamas’ goal for the destruction of Israel, Zahar would not respond. EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss Hamas’ future.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and advise him to "continue with the peace process and to do away with violence." At a joint press conference with acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Photo), Merkel said they were on the same page when it came to fighting terror. “There can be no negotiations with organizations or bodies or even governments who are involved with terror and who are not willing to recognize the State of Israel,” she said. Merkel will uphold Germany’s stance to have no relations with Hamas until it denounces terror.