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The EU and Aid to Palestinian Authority (Including the Hamas-Run Version):

An interesting timeline, with a question: "Why wasn't Uno sciocco e il suo denaro son presto separati considered as an EU motto?"

Thanks to reader Jaka Bartolj for the pointer.

Twonkie (mail):
Why anti-Americanism is the second superpower.

People with nothing in common (like Western Feminists and strict Islamists) are unwittingly uniting under an obsession with blaming America for not meeting a utopian standard of conduct.
3.1.2006 2:00pm
Shelby (mail):
Has anyone seen a serious analysis of the funding issue in the past week or so? On the one hand there's the portrayal of any moneys to support Palestinians as a hand-over to, first the PA, then Hamas. On the other, I've heard it asserted on Lehrer's Newshour that payments by the EU in the near future would go only to independent entities not subject to Hamas oversight or control. How "independent" are they really? Does anyone outside the West Bank and the Gaza Strip know?
3.1.2006 2:18pm
dunno:
2006:

People with nothing in common (like Western Feminists and strict Islamists) are unwittingly uniting under an obsession with blaming America for not meeting a utopian standard of conduct.

1942:
People with nothing in common (like Conservative British Prime Ministers and totalitarian Communist Russian genocidal dictators) are quite wittingly uniting under an obsession with blaming Germany for not meeting a utopian standard of conduct.

Twonky, I see what you mean, but you don't mean how you say.
3.1.2006 2:43pm
wm. tyroler (mail):
I've heard it asserted on Lehrer's Newshour that payments by the EU in the near future would go only to independent entities not subject to Hamas oversight or control

But: that simply a) frees up $ for Hamas's terrorism budget while at the same time b) burnishing its image as a provider of services. Given that Hamas seeks to pursue both bomb-belts and felafel, then EU funding gives Hamas the luxury of not having to choose.
3.1.2006 3:00pm
Pete Freans (mail):
If the EU &the US withhold funds, two questions must be posed: who will ultimately suffer and how will the financial vacuum be filled? My fear is that starving Hamas will merely plunge an already fragile Palestinian community into further chaos. So far the Bush Administration has not admonished the EU for funding the Palestinians; the US itself will soon decide whether to release US funds to them as well. Another concern is that Hamas will seek money from other unsavory sources in the world, ie Iran. At the moment, an unstable and bankrupt Palestinian society is more of a threat to Israel than a Hamas run government.
3.1.2006 4:35pm
KMAJ (mail):
On a related subject, I came across this news article that gives pause for slight optimism:

Poll: Most Palestinians back peace process

Most respondents said they back continuation of cease fire with Israel, want to see peace talks resumed

by Ali Waked

Most Palestinians (80.4 percent) support a continuation of the cease fire with Israel, and 70 percent back a resumption of the peace process with Israel, a poll published on Tuesday by Dr. Nabil Kukali of the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion revealed.

According to the poll, which was conducted among 1,003 Palestinians, about half of the respondents (50.8 percent) believe Hamas should recognize Israel, while 48.5 percent are against it.

In addition, 74 percent said they support Hamas taking part in the Palestinian security mechanisms, and 53.5 percent think the Palestinian government should use force against armed groups that break the cease fire agreement.


I think this is newsworthy, will we see it in the MSM ?
3.1.2006 4:45pm
J..:

On the other, I've heard it asserted on Lehrer's Newshour that payments by the EU in the near future would go only to independent entities not subject to Hamas oversight or control.

On the Lehrer Newshour, the guests discussed a large portion (over 100mm of the 144mm?) money going directly to Israeli companies to pay outstanding debts already incurred.
3.1.2006 5:11pm
dimitrir:
Pete Freans,

So if State X elected a KKK Governor and legislature and I'd propose we don't go there on vacations to show our disapproval, you'd naturally argue that that would only hurt the indigent population, right?

Why is it that you choose to treat Arabs with such lack of respect as to deny them the benefit that they have made an informed choice and to hold them accountable for it?

Alternatively, and I say that with no disrespect intended, why do you choose to let the Palestinians to treat us as such hypocrits, whereby they demonstrate that our words (i.e. we do not support terrorists - i assume you'll agree with that) have no meaning?
3.1.2006 6:18pm
james (mail):
How far back in time is anyone willing to go to determine ownership? At some point all of the modern nations where under the control of someone else. Does this mean they are all invalid? Is there some window in time where an area could change ownership and it would be considered ok? The tried and true method of nationhood has always been if you can take it and hold it, it is yours. This is why Tibet is part of China and Texas is not part of Mexico. Let us not fool ourselves into believing there is any other standard that applies. This is why Israel exists. This is why the Arab nations refuse to accept Israel.
3.1.2006 8:52pm
The Original TS (mail):
So if State X elected a KKK Governor and legislature and I'd propose we don't go there on vacations to show our disapproval, you'd naturally argue that that would only hurt the indigent population, right?

But that's not the analogy. The analogy would be cutting off all federal funds to state X for electing a KKK governor.

I agree that, on past form, Hamas is mad, bad, and dangerous to know. But that is more reason to honor pre-existing commitments, not less. Certainly, the Palestinians should be made to understand that they are ultimately responsible for their government and that the world may refuse to enter into future agreements with them until Hamas gets either houstrained or booted. Taking responsibility for your government is what democracy is all about.

But there's a flip side to this: We have to follow the rules and honor our agreements. We either believe in this democracy thing we've been so busy pitching or we don't. If we believe in this democracy thing, we cannot punish the Palestinians for "doing it wrong." If the actual Palestinian government does things we don't like, we can certainly make our displeasure known. But we cannot just refuse to have anything to do their elected representatives because we don't think the Palestinians should have elected them.

Democracy isn't going to always yield the results we might like. But if we believe in it, it is utterly foolish to sacrifice our principles for short term political gain. What do you think will do more to end terrorism and create a stable middle east, getting Hamas booted out of the Palestinian parliment in the next three months or creating a vibrant and stable Palestinian democracy?
3.1.2006 9:13pm
Lev:

On the other, I've heard it asserted on Lehrer's Newshour that payments by the EU in the near future would go only to independent entities not subject to Hamas oversight or control. How "independent" are they really?


They could be international Western NGO's such as those that provided assistance to Afghans directly and not through the Taliban government, or that, for a while, tried to provide food aid directly to NKorean citizens and not through Dear Leader.


Another concern is that Hamas will seek money from other unsavory sources in the world, ie Iran. At the moment, an unstable and bankrupt Palestinian society is more of a threat to Israel than a Hamas run government.


I don't get that. Of course Hamas will seek money from those who agree with it, especially Iran. And regardless of Euroaid. An unstable and bankrupt Palestinian society is one that is too disunited and fighting among itself to attack Israel. A Hamas run government, organized, funded, dedicated to the destruction of Israel can work with the power of the Palestinian state to accomplish that goal.


How far back in time is anyone willing to go to determine ownership? At some point all of the modern nations where under the control of someone else. Does this mean they are all invalid? Is there some window in time where an area could change ownership and it would be considered ok?


They may all be, or not, depending on the force available and the willingness to use force or forms of economic warfare such as gas delivered by pipeline. Also, some ownership is more final than others.


We have to follow the rules and honor our agreements. We either believe in this democracy thing we've been so busy pitching or we don't. If we believe in this democracy thing, we cannot punish the Palestinians for "doing it wrong."


I haven't heard anyone say they did the election wrong. However, if by the election the party in charge of "Palestine" is a terrorist party dedicated to terrorist goals in a terrorist manner, then "Palestine" will have become a terrorist state. And should be treated as such.


If the actual Palestinian government does things we don't like, we can certainly make our displeasure known. But we cannot just refuse to have anything to do their elected representatives because we don't think the Palestinians should have elected them.


Of course we can. Saddam Hussein was elected by his people. Castro was elected by his people. Maybe you feel, as the State Dept does, that Iran is a democracy.
3.1.2006 11:55pm
The Original TS (mail):
Of course we can. Saddam Hussein was elected by his people. Castro was elected by his people.

You're joking, of course. And yes, Iran does have a vibrant democracy, albeit an at-sufferance one with a theocracy stuck on top. But that's hardly relevant here.

However, if by the election the party in charge of "Palestine" is a terrorist party dedicated to terrorist goals in a terrorist manner, then "Palestine" will have become a terrorist state.

No, Palestine will become a terrorist state once its government starts acting like a terrorist state. It does not become a terrorist state because some members of parliament have been bad actors in the past.

It is completely hypocritical of us to refuse to have any dealings with the palestinians because we don't like Hamas. We had fairly warm relations with Iraq before the first gulf war. We are perfectly happy to deal with Sudan and China. Heck, forget China. We're perfectly happy to deal with North Korea. Each of these regimes make Hamas look like fuzzy bunnies. At least Hamas was freely elected.

We either believe in democracy or we don't. If we do, then we need to ride out the rough patches in hopes of a brighter tomorrow. If we're willing to abandon our principles as soon as it is expedient to do so, then we don't really have any principles at all.
3.2.2006 3:02am
Pete Freans (mail):
I appreciate the various comments on my original post. I guess I should clarify that I believe we should continue to assist the Palestinian people as we did in the past.

I interpreted the above article as saying that the EU is throwing its money away to a terrorist organization up to and including the most recent disbursement of funds. I'll be the first to agree that the EU at times has lacked a backbone in matters of foreign policy. What will be accomplished - taking this article a step further - if the EU completely severs its financial and political relationship with the Palestinian people? What if the US follows in lock-step? Since 1993 or so, the U.S. has given over $1.5 billion in aid to the Palestinians for infrastructure such as roads, bridges, water treatment, education, etc. Are we suggesting that up until the recent Hamas victory, former Palestinian governments have had clean hands? What do you think Fatah was, a green party? Fatah was the lesser of two terrorist evils which happened to be in power.

So, we dealt with Fatah, we engaged them politically, and we incrementally (a word which you should always keep in mind when dealing with the Palestinian problem) tried to bring them into the civilized world. The same should be done with Hamas, unless we choose to ignore that region at our own peril to teach the Palestinians a lesson. Do you believe Israel would advocate that policy? I don't think they would.
3.2.2006 9:19am
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I think this post raises a larger question of just who is a terrorist in the Middle East or elsewhere, and how long does it take a "terrorist" organization to turn respectable. Menachim Begin, former PM of Israel and signatory of the Camp David agreement with Egypt, participated in attacks on British soldiers when Palestine was under the British mandate. Ariel Sharon may have been complicit in atrocities when he was in charge of Israel's incursions in Lebanon (the Shatila and other Palestian camp massacres, undertaken by the Christian militias allied with Israel). But, the USA was one of the first and most active funders of Israel, and neither Begin's nor Sharon's backgrounds prompted calls in Congress for stopping all funding to Israel when each was elected PM. Yassir Arafat and the PLO engaged in innumerable acts of terror, yet we and the EU funded them when they were in charge of the Palestinian authority.

I say, lets see if we can entice Hamas into the peace process through constructive engagement. Yes, the Hamas charter calls for Israel's destruction, but so did the PLO's charter, until it was changed only a few years ago. I think the charters are akin the party platforms in the USA--- a sop to the faithful that are rarely influential in practice. If we abandon Hamas and the Palestinians, they will turn to the Iranians and extremist Islamic organizations for funding, and we will lose any influence over them. Also, once Hamas begins to govern, it will have to decide between a path of violence (and thus prolonged war with an adversary who can defeat it) or peace. Since most Palestinians want peace with Israel, I think Hamas might be persuaded to go along with peace, but it will take awhile.
3.2.2006 1:43pm
R:
Isn't it illegal in this country to give money to a terrorist organization? I recall people being arrested for raising money for Hamas. Would the law have to be changed to exclude democratically elected terrorist organizations in order for the U.S. government to give Hamas money without breaking the law?
3.2.2006 10:26pm