The administration is looking for a way to keep aid flowing if the Palestinians form a government that includes elements of Hamas, the militant anti-Israel group that controls Gaza.
Obama wants to alter language in the fiscal 2009 catchall spending law (PL 111-8) that makes the State Department worry about the possibility of a cutoff of aid to the Palestinian government should Hamas join the more moderate [sic] Fatah party in a power-sharing arrangement.
The administration said it is focused on ensuring that a Palestinian government meets internationally accepted conditions regarding Israel.
“This legislation is consistent with our policy,” said Benjamin Chang, a spokesman for the National Security Council.
“It would prohibit assistance to a government that does not accept the Quartet principles but would preserve the president’s flexibility to provide such assistance if that government were to accept and comply with the Quartet principles,” he said, referring to requirements that a Palestinian government accept Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and abide by prior Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
In other words, Hamas can participate in a Palestinian government which receives US aid as long as the official policy of that government meets the “Quartet principles” — even though Hamas rejects them. Of course, it is not clear if Hamas would participate in a government which did agree to them, but you can bet that efforts will be made to find a magic formula to make the problem go away.
Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill) likened this to supporting a government that had “only a few Nazis in it”.
The absurdity of the situation is remarkable:
- There is no Palestinian state or economy; they are totally dependent on international aid (mostly originating in the US). This is because their leadership (Fatah and Hamas) and their allies in the Mideast have always chosen war over acceptance of Israel.
- Many Palestinians living in Hamas-controlled Gaza allegedly ‘work’ for the Palestinian Authority [PA], so they get salaries from the PA, funded by the US and paid via Israel. Others have refugee status, so they receive aid from the UN.
- Hamas also gets direct aid in the form of money and munitions from Iran. All its resources are used to make war on Israel.
- When Israel struck back, the US agreed to pay to rebuild the damage in Gaza! But nobody can figure out how to do this without aiding Hamas.
Meanwhile, there’s a world-wide clamor to legitimize Hamas — despite the fact that it’s hard to find a more antisemitic and violent bunch anywhere.
Maybe the problem is that the Obama administration is looking at things from the wrong angle. Maybe the absolute top priority in the Mideast today should not be establishing a Palestinian state?
Maybe acting to stop the destabilizing activities of Iran — its sponsorship of Hezbollah in attacking Israel, destabilizing Lebanon and even Egypt, its support of Hamas, its attempt to control half the world’s oil supply by nuclear blackmail — is more important than establishing yet another Arab state ruled by racist thugs like those of Hamas and Fatah?