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Eat lead, Palestinians!

One of the fundamental decisions of any government is the honored dilemma on how to allocate government resources. The classic description of defense vs. social programs is the one that draws the most ideological fire, with it being boiled down into the catchy phrase "guns vs. butter." Traditionally, conservatives favor defense, seeing the external threats as more important. Liberals tend to support the social side of the equation, favoring government expenditures on such things as education, welfare, and the like. (Most often expended on bureaucracies to "manage" the issue than actually address the problems, but I digress.)

For most of its history, the terrorist group Hamas has seen itself as a quasi-government. Its charter calls for the creation of an Islamist state in Palestine, and naturally it sees itself as being that government. And at some point a Palestinian terrorist had a good idea, and a portion of Hamas' budget has gone into "butter" programs -- hospitals, schools, and charities. A fairly insignificant portion, overall, compared to the money and effort put towards terrorism, but enough to sway some hearts and minds. They also constructed the fiction of having "militant" and "political" wings (a notion I believe they stole from the Irish), drawing a fictional wall between the good cops and the bad cops. This allowed people to support Hamas while not having to admit they were supporting terrorism.

Then Hamas went and did the unthinkable: they ran in elections, and actually won. They intended to win enough seats to give Fatah headaches, to put pressure on them, to hold major influence over the actions of the Palestinian Authority. Since Fatah would still nominally hold the reins of power, there would be plausible deniability when Hamas continued its terrorist ways.

But that didn't work. Hamas openly won a solid majority of the seats in the legislature, and found themselves holding the entire bag. There would be no Fatah skirts to hide behind; the Palestinian people had actually listened to Hamas far better than Hamas intended -- or even wanted.

Most governments of the world, especially the ones who have been giving enormous amounts of aid to the Palestinian Authority, have been saying for years that Hamas is a terrorist organization (well, duh) and that they will not give aid to terrorist organizations. Right up through the elections, those nations repeatedly said that that policy will not change just because Hamas might win an election.

Apparently a lot of people didn't believe that the West would actually keep that pledge. (Two quick asides: yes, I said the West. The Palestinians have gotten little more than lip service in "support" from their Arab and Muslim brethren; the vast majority of their support comes from the West. And secondly, in the Palestinians' defense, the notion of the West making and keeping such a pledge doesn't hold up well under historical scrutiny.)

Now, it's four months since the elections, and the West kept its word: no money has been given to Hamas. And they are feeling the pinch. Public employees (a staggering 25% of the work force -- a notion horrifying to libertarians, the stuff of wet dreams to liberals) haven't been paid in months. The economy, never that sturdy to begin with, is in a shambles. And a top Palestinian minister says that someone broke into his hotel room in Kuwait and stole almost half a million dollars in cash.

In the midst of this, the violence in the Territories hasn't abated. In fact, it's gotten worse. There's been yet another suicide bombing (an art form Hamas perfected, adding such innovations as rat poison and enhanced shrapnel, as well as using retarded people as their weapons), and Hamas immediately came out and said that they will NOT condemn it. In fact, the official government response was, boiled down, "they were asking for it."

Also, the long-expected civil war between Hamas and Fatah has shown signs of flaring up. There have been several open battles between them recently. And Israel recently captured over a ton of military-grade explosives that Palestinians were attempting to smuggle into Israel.

In the meantime, Hamas is denouncing the loss of international support (translation: money), saying that the West is starving the Palestinian people, "punishing" them for exercising their democratic right to vote.

So, let me see if I can sum up the Hamas position: they have plenty of money for guns, but none for butter. And they expect the West to keep supplying the Palestinian people with butter, while Hamas uses those guns to continue their goal (clearly spelled out in their charter): the extermination of the nation of Israel and the establishment of an Islamist state on its ashes.

And, damn us, that's probably what's going to happen. In fact, several European nations are already doing that.

The smart thing, the principled thing, the right thing would be to simply let Hamas lie in the bed they have made. They want to put all their resources into weapons and continue to wage their war against Israel? Fine. Let them feed on bullets, dine on explosives, fill their bellies with rat poison. And when Israel finally decides to recognize Hamas as the legitimate government of Palestine and return their declaration of war with the full fury of a modern nation-state, it's only what Hamas has said they want. But that ain't gonna happen.

Lenin once famously said that "the capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them." He was nowhere near optimistic enough -- we're giving away the rope, already conveniently tied into a noose.


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Comments (18)

I saw a news item yesterday... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

I saw a news item yesterday stating the US and it's allies are going to provide "direct humanitarian aid" to the Palistinians. What this means is beyond me.Since we have no mechanism in place to provide aid directly to the people so the money will, in all liklehood, be in some way channeled to Hamas and used for guns not butter.

This development is disgusting to me. We get the bastards on the ropes with the people beginning to demonstrate against them rather than us for a change and what do we do? We bail their sorry asses out so they can bite the hand that feeds them again.

I don't know whose doing this is Bush, Rice or whoever but it is stupid. The Palestinians have got to be brought under control and if starving them into submission is required, let the starving begin.
Chuck

Half a million dollars in c... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Half a million dollars in cash in his hotel room...?

If Peter Paul and Mary had ... (Below threshold)

If Peter Paul and Mary had been children of the 80's, perhaps they would have sung this song in response to the Hamas/PA's cries of WOE!
Where have all the aid bucks gone?
Long Time Passing?
Where have all the aid bucks gone?
Long time ago?
Where have all the aid bucks gone?
To Swiss accounts every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

additional verses to include:
children/martyred bombers
mothers/martyred bombers
young men/martyred jihads
Hamas [supporters]/starved to death
When will they ever learn?

We (the US) should withhold... (Below threshold)
Brahma:

We (the US) should withhold aid from any country providing monetary support to any terrrorist group, elected or not. We should establish tariffs upon any imports from those countries and export duties on any product or servi ce going to those countries, and use the tariff/duty income to help the targets of that terrorism protect themselves. We should withhold UN funding equal to the support from UN countries going to the terrorist entities. Money is the fuel of the terrorist engine. Without money it stalls. Any direct or indirect support we provide fuels the engine. We should stop. Any principled nation would. To paraphrase the Empress, let 'em eat bullets.

Their gasoline supplier jus... (Below threshold)

Their gasoline supplier just looked at the mounting overdue bills and gave the PA the finger today.

Starve the beast, then cut off its head.

Charles Bannerman wr... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Charles Bannerman wrote (May 10, 2006 07:23 AM):

I saw a news item yesterday stating the US and it's allies are going to provide "direct humanitarian aid" to the Palistinians.

For sanctions to have a chance of working (and I've never been a big fan of them; I prefer the more direct approach), they have to be as airtight at possible. These means not one nickel or money and not one bite of food should go to the target country. If these means that the common people have to suffer, then I'm very sorry, but it's too bad. Money and food, even if it goes EXCLUSIVELY to the suffering people, simply relieves their government of its responsibility to them. As we saw from OFF, it the money usually winds up in the pockets of a few fat cats in the government and the aid agencies.

The Palestinians have made their bed. Let 'em starve in it.

Do you think that the same ... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

Do you think that the same pressure (withholding money) might persuade the Iraqi 'government' to
get off their asses and govern? Might a suggestion
be made that the Militias disarm? Sadr be neutralized/ Naw, that might cut into Halliburton's
Quarterly Report.

"I saw a news item yeste... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"I saw a news item yesterday stating the US and it's allies are going to provide "direct humanitarian aid" to the Palistinians."

Isn't "direct aid" such things as food and medicine, and not cash?

The problem is that even 'd... (Below threshold)
MikeB:

The problem is that even 'direct aid' is fungible and serves to help prop up the government that's opt'd to spend funds on other 'projects'. Sometimes in order for things to get better they must first get worse (e.g. the cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy).

- MikeB

I presume the aid would hav... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

I presume the aid would have to pass through Israel.
If that is so, then Israel should simply block it.

Lee:Yes, what I read... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

Lee:
Yes, what I read implied food and medicine but that will be co-opted by Hamas in the same way Saddam worked the Oil for Food program. The only way to deal with Hamas is to make life so miserable for the Palestinians that they revolt. That was beginning to happen and now it appears that we, soft hearted fools, are going to provide the essentials to the people so they can continue to bite our hand.

I've been hungry before and I know it is a great motivator.
Chuck

I believe i heard Rice say ... (Below threshold)
virgo:

I believe i heard Rice say that they were also freeing up 10,000,000 dollars for public workers or some such rubbish. the public workers are the same as Hamas terrorists! so this should buy them another couple hundred rockets and other various bomb making materials.

No more money its time for them to Bite the Bullet!

Chuck said:I've b... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Chuck said:
I've been hungry before and I know it is a great motivator."

And once you are no longer hungry, did you stay motivated? Palestine was a mess before the elections, and would still be a mess after Hamas was kicked out, so what is the long-term gain from all of this? It seems to me that even if starving the Palestinians gains some short-term goal such as reducing the Hammas support in Palestine, not much will really change in the medium and long-term -- we've only hardened feelings against the west among what little support we might have had - -starving babies is the American way? Not in my book.

The biggest problem I have with Bush's foreign policy is there seems to be no thought as to "what's next". Iraq is a prime example, and Iran is turning into another, as are the embargoes against Palestine. There is no thought through plan behind all of this - it is react and then figure out what to do next. We rattle our sabers at Iran, and they rattle theirs right back -- now what?

The border/immigration initiatives by Bush are another (admittedly off-topic) example. All that Bush has accomplished is increasing the flow of illegals across our borders. We'd have been better off focusing on securing the border and ignoring those already in the country for the time being, but the idiots in the White House can't stop reacting and attempting to appease the far-right -- without any real plan. It seems to be all short-term reactionary knee-jerk actions that don't have any resemblance to a thought through "policy."

Hardening their feelings ag... (Below threshold)
virgo:

Hardening their feelings against the west? how ridiculous,30 years of free money has not made them more friendly,rather more hostile. what would be gained short term is less money being spent on weapons to murder isrealis and any other tourist that happens to be in a diner or on a bus. thats what we gain.

thats what we gain</... (Below threshold)
Lee:

thats what we gain

...until the money starts flowing again. It's short-term.

So Lee -- do you support <i... (Below threshold)

So Lee -- do you support permanently cutting off aid to the Palestinians?

I am intrigued.

Actually, I would favor cut... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

Actually, I would favor cutting off all foriegn aid to anybody. Why should we be the world's nanny? The American taxpayer has rebuilt Europe twice and the whole world once. I for one would like a little gratitude, not groveling, but gratitude.
I saw a segment on TV about Darfur where this poor wretch was trying to blame us for what is going on there. I'll bet her last bite of food was paid for by us and she has the gall to blame us for the barbariety of her countrymen.

I say, screw the rest of the world, its time to look after us.
Chuck

I agree, can you imagine wh... (Below threshold)
Dick Morrass:

I agree, can you imagine what we could do with all that money we give away every year? plus if other countrys would pay us back everything they have recieved from us over the years it would be such a windfall? but seeing as that will not happen,lets just say we owe no one a red cent,no national debt to anyone?sounds good to me.




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