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Europe Approves Emergency Aid for Palestinians


The European Union has approved emergency aid for the Palestinians, while warning the Islamic party Hamas that it must recognize Israel and renounce violence if its government is to receive further aid.

Meeting in Brussels, European Union foreign ministers approved $78 million in aid. The EU's External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, said Hamas will be judged in the future by its words and deeds.

The European Union is the largest donor to the Palestinians. The U.S. has said it will suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority once a Hamas-led government takes office.

Hamas unveiled its list of cabinet ministers Monday for a new Palestinian government.

The incoming prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, said his top priority is to meet the basic needs of Palestinians and alleviate their suffering. Hamas has refused to renounce violence or to recognize Israel.

In talks that took several weeks, Hamas was unable to persuade other Palestinian factions, including the Fatah party of President Mahmoud Abbas, to join a coalition government.

The Palestinian parliament is expected to approve the new cabinet next week. Before the ministers can take office, Mr. Abbas has to either approve or veto them.

In Israel, with one week remaining before parliamentary elections, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has re-stated his plan to unilaterally draw Israel's final borders.

Speaking to Israel Army Radio, Mr. Olmert said Israel would abandon most of its settlements in the occupied West Bank, but keep three large settlement blocks.

The Palestinians have denounced the plan. The U.S. maintains that negotiations should determine final borders.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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