The Palestinian Authority faces a potentially devastating cash crunch in the wake of the landslide victory by Hamas in last week's parliamentary elections. The Palestinian government last year received about $900 million in aid, and also relies heavily on taxes collected and distributed by Israel.Hamas is a designated foreign terrorist organization under US law and any attempt to provide aid to the Palestinian Authority would mean violating US law. Members of Congress have proposed a bill to not only cut funding to the Palestinian Authority, but designates the Palestinian Authority as a "terrorist sanctuary," and closes down some Palestinian Authority offices in America as part of a reduction of Palestinian-American diplomatic ties. Those are all steps long overdue considering that the Palestinian Authority never fulfilled its obligations to curtail terrorism against Israel and continued sponsoring terrorism through Fatah's splinter group al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
All those sources of funds are now imperiled, as the countries involved have recoiled from giving assistance to a government led by a party they regard as a terrorist group.
There's also a good reason that Hamas is considered a terrorist group. It is a terrorist group. Just look at the numbers. They speak for themselves.
Secretary of State Rice is pushing the diplomatic route to try and isolate Hamas. She had earlier admitted that the US was caught offguard by the Hamas landslide victory and the deepseated resentment of Fatah.
Meanwhile, Abu Mazen says he wouldn't resign. Good luck trying to convince the Fatah faithful that you deserve to continue representing them, let alone breathing.
And Hamas continues to push the whole notion of hudna, a strategic truce that enables Hamas to not only break it whenever it wants, but permits Hamas the ability to regroup and rearm for the restoration of open hostilities.
Efforts by the US to cut off funding to Hamas appear to be going sideways though the headline claims that progress is being made. The culmination of these efforts will take at least several months to be implemented. And that means that Hamas will be funded in the interim by the various donor countries, including the US, as well as the UN, despite the fact that it's a terrorist organization with serious quantities of blood on their hands.
That doesn't sound like a zero-tolerance policy to me. Nor does it appear that the US aid to the Palestinians is following US law, which prohibits dealing with foreign terrorist organizations.
He spoke after a hastily called strategy session of the so-called Quartet, the group of international would-be Middle East peacemakers that includes the United Nations, United States, Russia and the European Union. That group includes all major donors to the perpetually cash-strapped Palestinians.They couldn't even get everyone to agree on demanding Hamas to immediately disarm. Not that Hamas would ever agree to the terms, but it is telling that the Western world could not come to an agreement over cutting aid to a genocidal and nihlistic group such as Hamas.
"It is incumbent now for all to insist that any future Palestinian government will live up to these obligations," including acceptance of the goal of side-by-side homelands for Israelis and Palestinians, Rice said.
The Quartet issued a strongly worded statement that stopped just short of issuing an outright threat to the incoming Hamas leadership. Almost immediately, the Al-Arabiya satellite channel reported that Hamas rejected the demands to disarm and recognize Israel.