The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will formally ask the militant group’s Prime Minister-designate to form a government later today. Ismail Haniyeh, 43, widely seen as a pragmatist, will have up to five weeks to put together the new administration. It has been suggested that Hamas wants to put together a coalition. But both the Fatah Party and Islamic Jihad have refused.
Speaking to reporters outside the building where the meeting took place, Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar said funds from the Arab and Muslim world would counter the effects of Israel’s economic squeeze on the Palestinian Authority: “They are trying to strangulate and to starve the innocent people by cutting our money from our goods. We are going to treat by all legal means through discussion these issues with the Arabic and Islamic countries and the international community,” he said. Israel has halted the transfer of millions of euros in tax revenue, until such time as Hamas recognises the Israeli state and renounces its commitment to armed conflict.