May 9, 2006
Playing "Hide the Funding"
An interesting dynamic has developed in the "Mideast Quartet" (the United States, the U.N., the European Union, and Russia) debating Western response to the victory of terrorist group Hamas in the Palestinian elections: America vs. Everybody Else.
This is hardly original; this is, in fact, the usual position in which we find ourselves. And I don't even think the odds are unfair (which is too bad; I would prefer to see the odds very unfairly stacked against Hamas).
The current tussle is about whether the West should fund "the Palestinians," by which they mean the terrorist group Hamas, which won a majority of the parliament of the Palestinian Authority in January of this year. The U.S. position -- that they should be cut off so that they collapse -- should be a no-brainer; why give money to people who pledge to use it to pay for more suicide bombings of their neighbors? But evidently, Europe (including Russia) is much exercised about the dreadful possibility that the terrorist government might not survive a year:
The group of international mediators -- the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations -- first heard gloomy scenarios from foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and then headed into private talks to discuss proposals to ease the crisis.
"It is a difficult situation but I want to say that we are not going to let the Palestinians starve," said the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana after talks with the Arab ministers.
Translation for the diplospeak-challenged: "Even if Hamas spends every dime of its money on terrorist weaponry to attack Israel, the EU wants to pick up the slack, so that the Palestinian people will not suffer for their own dreadful miscalculation."
Worse, non-Americans at the conference are now retailing the rumor that the United States is coming round to their point of view:
A Western diplomatic source close to the discussions said the United States was edging closer to agreeing to a "temporary international mechanism" to channel money to pay employees of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority who have not been paid for the past two months.
"America is softening its position. The Arab foreign ministers made very clear if the Palestinian Authority collapses then you could potentially have a civil war," said the source, who asked not to be named as negotiations were at a delicate stage.
Good heavens, we can't have that! A wave of suicide bombings in Jerusalem, sure; the organized murders of women and children sleeping peacefully in their beds on the farms they built, no problem; incessant cross-border rocket attacks against Israeli Jews (and Moslems)... well whoever gave Israel the right to exist in the first place? (The U.N., actually. Though they quickly changed their minds when they suddenly realized that the "Zionists" were Jews.)
But Allah forbid that the Palestinians, who tossed out King Log for King Stork, end up suffering a civil war (Stork against Log: Fatah vs. Hamas in a steel-cage death match -- loser leaves town!) or any other adverse effects of their own stupidity and genocidal evil. That would shock the conscience of the world.
I think we can bet that if Reuters' source had been American, they would not have described him, her, or it (Reuters says it's a "he") as "a Western diplomatic source." So it's probably some European assuring the world that America is on the verge of capitulation. To be taken with several boxes of salt.
His credibility is further eroded by a contradiction within the article itself. The Americans actually quoted don't seem very close to such agreement at all:
The United States has taken the toughest line against Hamas since it won January elections and made clear on Tuesday that Hamas was to blame for all of its current financial problems.
"Any failure of Hamas to deliver on those needs is that of Hamas alone," said a senior State Department official.
The official said the U.S. would make clear in meetings that Hamas had to "fix the problems" and it could start off by meeting the demands of the international community, which include recognizing Israel, renouncing violence and signing on to previous Palestinian-Israeli agreements.
Unless our negotiators are freelancing and ignoring clear instructions from Washington -- which will ultimately have to approve or reject a deal in any event, so defiance is futile -- they're sticking with the original plan: until and unless Hamas ceases being a terrorist organization, we're not going to fund them.
This is one of Reuters' infamous "non-story" stories: they don't really have anything beyond a vague sense of hope that eventually, America will cave. They have no American sources saying we're going to relent and start propping up Hamas, the way we propped up Mahmoud Abbas (and Yassir Arafat before him)... even the headline hedges: US may soften stand on Palestinian aid... and then again, maybe they won't. Who knows? Reuters sure doesn't!
Of course, if all that the "Western diplomatic source" means is that we don't want to see women and children starve to death, I'm sure something can be worked out. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is already spending millions to pay for "medical supplies and equipment for the Palestinians," and perhaps this could be expanded to pay for MREs for the civilians... Big Lizards suggests Moslem kosher meals, clearly marked in Arabic "You are being kept alive courtesy of the United States of America; ask your own government why."
I'm not happy that the medical supplies are being distributed by the U.N., because I think that body is perfectly capable of selling them instead on the black market, keeping half the proceeds, and sending the rest to Ismail Haniya for "martyrdom operations." But I suppose there's no alternative, other than to let disease pandemics run wild through the territories (which is not exactly healthy for neighboring countries, including Israel).
And there likely is no alternative but to let the U.N. distribute the MREs: mass starvation has, as an inevitable consequence, masses of desperate refugees streaming out of the "country" by the hundreds of thousands, which would be an absolute nightmare for security. But beyond food and medicine, there is nothing in the article quoting any American source agreeing with the EU that Hamas should be propped up, so they can continue their jihad against the Jews. The best they can offer is a tepid "We are encouraged and we are working on it" from an EU spokeswoman.
(By the way, you notice I keep writing "Hamas against the Jews," rather than "Hamas against Israel;" that is because their own charter makes it quite clear what really offends them. From the introduction to Hamas's Covenant:
This Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement (HAMAS), clarifies its picture, reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes, and calls for its support, adoption and joining its ranks. Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah's victory is realised.
It's refreshing to read such clarity and honesty after struggling through the dissembling of the Europeans. It is also encouraging to read this blunt warning from the World Bank:
The World Bank warned on Monday the Palestinian Authority could face a breakdown in law and order and basic services unless foreign donors step in to pay the salaries of about 165,000 civil servants.
Translation for the antique-media challenged: "The plan is working splendidly. Keep it up!"
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 9, 2006, at the time of 3:09 PM
TrackBack URL for this hissing: http://biglizards.net/mt3.36/earendiltrack.cgi/741
The following hissed in response by: SDN
The AP thru Fox is reporting that we are going to give $10 mill thru UN and NGO's.
The following hissed in response by: dasbow
COULD face a breakdown of law and order? Heaven forbid that a lone Palestinian could become, you know, violent or something.
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