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Jewish group lauds E.U. on P.A. deal

The European Jewish Congress praised the European Union for reacting cautiously to the recent Fatah-Hamas unity deal. “It is important that the European Union maintains a firm attitude regarding Hamas,” EJC President Pierre Besnainou said in a statement Wednesday. “As long as Hamas does not amend its charter and renounce terror, no concession is conceivable.” Leaders of Hamas, a terrorist group that controls the Palestinian Authority Cabinet and legislature, and leaders of the more moderate Fatah Party negotiated the deal Feb. 8, ending weeks of internecine violence. Frank-Walter Steinmeyer, the German foreign minister and current E.U. president, expressed “cautious optimism” last Friday about the agreement but said talk of resuming direct aid to the P.A. government was premature. Shortly after, European foreign ministers who met in Brussels decided not to resume aid. The international community has set three conditions for Hamas to meet before aid is resumed: recognition of Israel, renunciation of terrorism and acceptance of past peace agreements.