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Hamas Presents Its Cabinet to Palestinian President

The Islamic militant group Hamas has presented its Cabinet to the Palestinian president. Israel will boycott the new government.

Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ismail Haniya presented the new Hamas cabinet to President Mahmoud Abbas. Officials say Mr. Abbas will not block parliamentary approval for the cabinet, but he will publish a letter with his reservations about the militant platform of the new government.

The Hamas political program calls for "resistance by all means" to the Israeli occupation. Hamas has often described suicide bombings as legitimate resistance. Therefore, Palestinian moderates led by Mr. Abbas' defeated Fatah party refused to join the government.

That could bolster Israeli and U.S. efforts to isolate Hamas. Israel is gradually cutting ties with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, which it describes as a terrorist regime. Israeli spokesman Ra'anan Gissin.

"The first thing is we stop the flow of money to the Palestinian Authority," said Ra'anan Gissin. "We are also urging the donor countries, European donor countries, to stop all flow of economic assistance, financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority, the new government."

Israel has cut off $50-million monthly tax payments to the Palestinians, and it hopes that the international community will follow suit. The U.S. and Europe donate nearly $1 billion a year to the Palestinian Authority, but they have said that the continuation of aid depends on Hamas renouncing violence. Hamas has refused.

Outgoing Palestinian Cabinet Minister Ghassan Khattib says economic sanctions are counterproductive.

"The measures that Israel declared against the Palestinian people are considered a part of the ongoing Israeli collective punishment measures that aims at punishing all the Palestinian people in a way that contradicts with the international law," said Ghassan Khattib.

Hamas seeks Israel's destruction and rejects the internationally backed "road map" peace plan as "a waste of time." So the new Hamas government faces the prospect of international isolation.