A U.S. official held talks with the Palestinian Authority finance minister. Tuesday’s meeting between the U.S. consul general in Jerusalem, Jacob Wallace, and Salam Fayyad formalized the break between the Bush administration and Israel on whether to shun the new Palestinian Authority coalition government. Fayyad is a U.S.-educated independent whom Hamas and Fatah brought into the P.A. unity government in hopes of persuading the West to lift an aid embargo on the Palestinian Authority. Though Israeli officials have previously praised Fayyad as a moderate, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has ruled out talks with any members of the new Cabinet because its main component is Hamas, a terrorist group.
U.S., P.A. in first government-level talks