The United States has ended its 15-month-old aid embargo on the Palestinian Authority. The move, announced by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, means nearly 100 million euros could be released to the emergency government of Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas.
“The United States will resume full assistance to the Palestinian government and normal government-to-government contacts,” said Rice. “I told the Prime Minister that we want to work with his government and support his efforts to enforce the rule of law.”
The appointment of the new Prime Minister is thought to have been the decider. The Fatah party has laboured under suspicion of corruption.
But the independent Salam Fayyad has the trust of the west. Rice said she thought he, and Abbas, were the right men to take a “responsible course and institute reliable controls”.
But Fatah’s influence is now restricted to the West Bank with Hamas, isolated by the West even while in the unity government, in control of Gaza. A senior Fatah member has been killed in a gun battle at a main border crossing between Gaza and Israel. Hamas claims he was killed by Israeli soldiers. Israel says a gunman from Gaza opened fire on queuing Palestinians.