Q. – I'd like to talk about the situation in Palestine, Secretary Rice. Do you believe your policy in the Middle East is effective? Because we see what's happening in Palestine, Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Consequently, do you think that your government's policy is the right one?
SECRETARY RICE – Thank you. Well, first of all, it's the policy of our government to support democratically elected leaders who want to live in a world in which there is tolerance, in which people can live in peace with one another. And it is a policy, by the way, that is not just the policy of the United States Government. It's the policy of the international community as a whole. For instance, in the Palestinian situation there is a process of moving to two States that is internationally accepted, and the part of the Palestinian political leadership that accepts that is the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, who is the president of all the Palestinian people.
And I simply don't accept the notion which some are saying that there are two Palestinian leaders, leaderships, or two Palestinian governments. There's one president of the Palestinian people. It's Mahmoud Abbas. There is one government of the Palestinian people. It is the emergency government that Mahmoud Abbas has put in place. There will be one Palestinian State that will have the territories of the West Bank and Gaza together.
And we are I think – the United States – demonstrating our belief in that because while we are determined not to support Hamas, which caused this problem and tried to, in a sense, overthrow the legitimate government, the legitimate power of the Palestinian Authority, we are giving $43 million in humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza through the United Nations. Because we're not going to forget about the people in Gaza. We are not going to condemn 1.3 million people in Gaza to live under Hamas without the support of the international community for their humanitarian needs. And so I don't believe for a minute that there can be two Palestines. There will be one Palestinian State living side by side in peace with Israel.
It is the same with Lebanon: supporting a united Lebanese government elected by the Lebanese people.
THE MINISTER – France was immediately alerted to the situation. She had known for a long time about the situation of the Palestinians in Gaza who were having so many difficulties in their daily lives. We were – but we weren't followed – in favour of helping them directly. It was difficult.
Now, I share the US Secretary of State's political and legal analysis. There is a Palestinian president: Mr Mahmoud Abbas. We immediately provided him with direct assistance. And I am pleased that the European Union has done so too, after last week's discussions. I was also pleased to learn that the Israelis have released the $600 million of VAT and taxes, which they are going to hand over to the President or to Mr Fayad, the new Prime Minister.
Nevertheless Hamas won the election and we'll have to think about what we can do now, regardless of the election, after the massacres inside Gaza and elsewhere. The utmost must be done to help the inhabitants of Gaza who are in a situation of total deadlock.