JERUSALEM, JAN 30 (AP): Even before it embarks on its first effort at governing, the militant Islamic Hamas faces serious problems - international isolation because of its extremist policy and an inherited money crunch.
On Sunday acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave notice that the money situation is about to get worse. He said after Hamas sets up a government, Israel will stop transferring tens of millions of dollars a month in customs and taxes.
Internally, Fatah, the old guard vanquished by Hamas in last week's parliamentary election, are refusing to cooperate with the new rulers, almost openly hoping for their failure.
International donors, who have annually made up a huge budget shortfall, are balking at funding a Hamas regime.
Fatah leaders are expressing defiance instead of shock over their loss, after winning just 45 seats in the 132-seat parliament, while Hamas took 74, putting an end to four decades of Fatah control over Palestinian politics.
"We will not allow ... anyone to take part in a government with Hamas," said Sufian Abu Zaydeh, an outgoing Fatah Cabinet minister. He made it clear in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 TV that Fatah is hoping Hamas falls flat in its mission of governing in its first-ever try.
"They said they have a different way of doing things, they can conduct negotiations without talking to Israel, without recognizing Israel - let's see them do it," he said, while admitting that voters punished Fatah for its widespread corruption.
In an interview on CNN, Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar said he expected aid from the Arab world if the West stops its funding and charged that up to now, Fatah operatives skimmed off most of the foreign aid for themselves.