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Cutting out the middle man

Back in January, when the Palestinians were holding their elections, the US found itself backing Fatah to remain in power over Hamas. The argument was hideously pragmatic: Fatah was a lying, corrupt, venal party, but at least they had made a few gestures towards ending terrorism. They had signed agreements with Israel, and had made several moves towards a peaceful settlement. They hadn't kept a single one of those agreements, and the moves were hollow gestures, but it was seen as marginally better than Hamas, who considered themselves in a state of war with Israel, refused to acknowledge their existence, and openly carried out terrorist attacks.

Well, Hamas won anyway, and the United States found itself in a conundrum: now the Palestinian Authority was utterly dominated by an acknowledged terrorist organization. Should we continue to support the Authority? The answer there was simple: no. After all, Hamas said that it didn't consider itself bound to respect any agreements entered into by the Authority before it assumed power, so why should we?

Israel also found itself having to face the same dilemma. Every month, it collects a great deal of taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and now found itself having to turn that money directly over to Hamas -- a group that repeatedly reaffirms its founding principle, the destruction of Israel and the establishment of an Islamist state. Earlier, I stated that the money was being held in escrow; it actually is being applied to outstanding and ongoing utility bills. Hamas is furious; they apparently think that Israel should supply the Palestinians with free water and electricity while they continue to seek Israel's destruction.

Now there's yet another push for the US to relent from its position, to resume giving money to the Palestinian Authority for "humanitarian" reasons. But is that what it will be used for?

Under Fatah, we at least had hopes that they would make the occasional gesture towards fighting terrorism and finding a lasting peace. But now we find out that even under them, a significant portion of the aid they were given went straight into funding terrorist attacks. (Hat tip to Meryl Yourish, as well as Laurence Simon and Little Green Footballs.)

So, if Fatah was spending a good chunk of aid it received on terrorism after renouncing it and making token gestures towards peace, what are the odds that Hamas will spend any aid it receives strictly on humanatarian and peaceful ends? I'm torn between the two extremes -- fat chance and slim chance.

So I have a solution. It's time to skip the intermediate bullshit and cut right to the chase. Why doesn't the US take the normal monthly amount we used to give the Palestinian Authority and divide it in two. 75% will be used for direct humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, in the form of food, medicines, medical personnel, teachers, and the like. The remaining 25% will be given to the Pentagon, and used to cover the costs of military strikes against Israel.

It's a win-win solution all around. The Palestinians will most likely see more benefit from the aid than under Fatah, or what they would have received under Hamas. Hamas wins, because our military will be far more efficient at killing Jews than they have been, as we get a far better "bang for our buck," without putting themselves at risk. We win, as our military gets some valuable live-fire training. And even Israel wins, as we would be focusing our attacks on their military, and not random innocent civilians.

I don't expect those calling for the US to give money to Hamas to sign on to this plan. It's too honest for them. They don't want to admit that a significant portion -- most likely a majority -- of any funds given to them will go directly into funding terrorism. As long as Hamas makes a token gesture towards caring for the Palestinian people -- and if there's one thing Hamas excels at, it's making those token gestures.

The only fly in the ointment would be the expectation that the Palestinians will sit back and let the United States do its dirty work for them. It's their dream solution: they don't have to do a damned thing, just collect the support and watch Israelis die. All they need is some popcorn to properly enjoy their ringside seat.

But the Palestinians are famous for one thing: they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Sooner or later, they would start missing out on the fun and resume terrorist attacks again, and the whole deal would go right down the toilet -- a toilet that continues to flush because Israel continues to supply them with water.

Comments (5)

Unless US decided to set up... (Below threshold)

Unless US decided to set up our own aid infrastructure backed by our own security force (Army, Marine, or private security), there really isn't any point in the so-call ear-mark aid. Afterall, they'll just get diverted.

As LGF points out, they certaintly have no problem fielding yet another security force overnight with shiny guns and crisp uniform.

Hmmm.As shown by m... (Below threshold)


As shown by many African dictators even if you gave the aid money in the form of bags of grain. They'll just steal the grain, sell it on the black market, pocket the money and buy explosives.

No form of aid money is going to be secure enough that it can't be diverted.

First question. Why should... (Below threshold)
David Starr:

First question. Why should anyone subsidize the Palestinian Authority? The Palestinians need to know that economic self sufficiency is required of all peoples in the modern world.
Second Question. The Palestinians have voted for a terrorist organization to assume political power in the Palestinian lands. That's fine, that's democracy. But, the US and Europe should not feel compelled to sudsidize a hateful regime. Possibly the Palestinians will learn that if they want hand outs, they have to pay for them by acting in an manner acceptable to the rich and charitable countries that do handouts.
Third Question. Why is not the oil rich Arab world helping the Palestinian Authority to meet payroll? They surely have the money.

I'm confused, because earli... (Below threshold)

I'm confused, because earlier Jay Tea had said that Bush was bringing rational Democracy to the Middle East, and it was like a dam breaking open. Does he regret using that metaphor?

I'm with ed, et.al. ... (Below threshold)

I'm with ed, et.al. on this one. Aid is fungible, no matter what the form. Even if HAMAS doesn't steal foodstuffs and medical supplies (the black market to cash route), supplying the Palestinians with aid means that HAMAS has that much more money to spend on weapons.

As far as jp2's comment goes, by his "logic", democracy is bad because the Germans elected Hitler by democratic process (albeit one that was under a cloud of vote rigging, a la HAMAS) in 1932.

There's one thing I consistently don't "get" in all this talk about the palestinians: why is it that these people deserve so much international aid in the first place? Israel has never prevented palestinians from conducting commerce with anyone unless the palestinians use that commerce as a pretext to kill civilians (e.g., closing border crossings).

If Ahmadinejad claims solidarity with HAMAS, why isn't he bankrolling them (other than with war materiel)?






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