Israel has refused to say when it will return tax money withheld from the Palestinian government since Hamas took power. But Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni did say the new administration offered a window of opportunity: “Israel is going to work with Abou Mazen and Salam Fayyad in order to transfer the money, yes,” she told reporters.
EU Foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said three main issues remained to be resolved: “The withheld taxes have to be given to the legal government of the Palestinians today. The second thing that cannot wait is to do something rapidly on access and movement among the Palestinians, in particular in the West Bank. And the third thing that cannot wait is to begin thinking very carefully about political process. The political horizon is very interesting but we have to make the horizon come back to the present as soon as possible.”
Diplomats say the decision to reinstate direct aid from the EU is not likely to come immediately. The EU External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said talks would be needed first with new prime minister Salam Fayyad to make it possible.