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Israel Says Hamas Must Renounce Terror

Ehud Olmert (file photo) (epa) 29 January 2006 -- Israel says it will boycott a Palestinian government that includes Hamas until the Islamic movement renounced terrorism and recognized the Jewish state's right to exist.

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made the comment on 29 January in the wake of Hamas' victory in the 25 January Palestinian legislative elections.

Also on 29 January, an unidentified senior Israeli official warned that Israel would not transfer customs revenues to the Palestinians if there were any doubts the money reaches terrorist organizations.

Israel currently pays back around $50 million every month to the Palestinian Authority as a reimbursement for customs duties.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who begins a visit to Israel and Palestinian areas on 29 January, said she would shun Hamas.

Syrian President Bashar Assad called on the international community to respect the will of the Palestinian people and to accept as legitimate the outcome of the vote.

Hamas leaders have rejected Western demands that it renounce violence against Israel or risk losing aid vital to the survival of the Palestinian Authority.

(AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)