The senior envoy from the “Quartet” guiding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process came out against aid cuts to the Hamas government. As he prepared to step down this week, James Wolfensohn said that isolating the Palestinian Authority under Hamas could backfire. “It would surprise me if one could win by getting all the kids out of school or starving the Palestinians,” he said Monday during a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The U.S.-led boycott of the Hamas administration does not preclude aid payments to non-governmental organizations working direcly with needy Palestinians. But Wolfensohn, in a report to the Quartet leaked to the press, voiced doubt that the aid shortfall could be filled through those means. “Neither the U.N. nor the NGOs many of the donors are looking toward have the capacity to fulfill these roles,” he wrote.
May 3, 2006