Question: What is the difference between US support for the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and support for Hamas?
Answer: not much. Consider the recent ‘accidental’ payment of a full year’s salary to 3,500 members of the Hamas ‘security’ forces by the PA:
In defending his move, [PA Prime Minister Salam] Fayad initially claimed that the payment was a regrettable error caused by a computer glitch. In his updated story, Fayad claimed that a Hamas agent in his Ministry of Finance was responsible for the move.
Fayad’s excuses naturally raise the question: If Fatah opposes Hamas, why are all the names and bank account numbers of Hamas’s soldiers conveniently located in Fatah’s Ministry of Finance’s computer files? Aside from that, it is hard to believe that Fayad objected to paying the jihad forces. Since Hamas took over Gaza in June, Fayad has regularly paid the salaries of Hamas legislators, civil servants in Hamas’s government, and Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails.
Moreover, Fayad’s assertions that Fatah opposes Hamas are hardly believable given that Fatah is engaged in intense negotiations with Hamas toward a reunification of their forces. Wednesday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stated openly that he seeks to reconcile with Hamas. In his joint press briefing with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Abbas called for a “return to national unity.” He said, “The split [between Judea and Samaria and Gaza which happened] as a result of Hamas’s coup is temporary and will be removed.” — Caroline Glick
Since the Palestinians have no economy and no resources, this payment came from money transferred to the PA by the US or European Union. Our good, Western, anti-terrorist dollars and Euros.
It seems as though the US and the Olmert government are rushing headlong toward the creation of some kind, any kind, of a Palestinian state under Abbas (anything is acceptable, just as long as it’s not Hamas). On the Israeli side, I don’t know how much of the support for this is genuine or is a result of pressure from the US. US policy is apparently being dictated by the so-called ‘realists’ connected to the Bush Administration, such as James Baker, and the US State Department.
I’m going to make a prediction that this will not come to fruition. I wish that the reason were that Israel and the US would decide that making deals with Fatah is unproductive and dangerous, but unfortunately that will not happen. The change in policy will be the result of something much worse.
I think it’s likely that war will break out between Israel and Iranian proxies (Hezbollah, Hamas, and possibly Syria) within the next year. This will be accompanied by renewed terrorism from the West Bank, and it will become clear to everyone that Israel’s security requires a military presence there.
If peace is the goal, then I recommend that Israel stop pretending that enemies can be friends but rather build up a strong deterrent capability to keep them at bay.