From today's Times:
America cannot bankroll a Hamas government that preaches and practices terrorism, denies that Israel has any right to exist, and refuses to abide by peace agreements signed by previous Palestinian governments. That should be blindingly obvious . . . .
Hamas won the recent Palestinian election fair and square. American officials, who say they are so forcefully committed to the cause of expanding democracy in the Middle East, should not even entertain the idea of doing anything to try to somehow undermine the results and install a different government. But that does not mean continuing to provide the subsidies that help pay for the Palestinian police, civil servants and other employees . . . .
. . . . Money should continue to flow to nongovernmental relief organizations for humanitarian projects, provided that the recipient organizations have no links of any kind to terrorist activity or organizations. The same thing goes for independent foundations that remain committed to the principles of the Oslo peace agreements and peaceful dialogue with Israel.
No one should imagine that this strategy is likely to convince average Palestinians that they made a mistake in picking a Hamas government. The withheld American aid will very probably be replaced from less scrupulous sources, like Iran or oil-rich Arab countries.
Still, the United States would make a resounding diplomatic and moral point by cutting off aid . . . .
The only part I disagreed with was this:
And Washington should continue to press Israel to resume turning over to the Palestinian Authority the Palestinian tax and customs funds that Israel collects on the authority's behalf. This is not aid, but the Palestinians' own money.No, no, no. For any Israel Treasury check to be made out to the Palestinian Authority right now would just be ludicrous. In the Times' own words, this should be blindingly obvious.
However, I do agree that if the money came from PA-resident Palestinians' pockets, then the money should should somehow get to their government, even if their government is evil.
The answer is simple, or should be. Israel should say "We're having nothing to do with you. You can collect your own damn taxes and your own damn customs. Your money, your business." Israel shouldn't be doing anything "on the authority's behalf" right now. Why should we? They won't even recognize our right to exist.
Let the true, badly-needed humanitarian aid roll in . . . I'd be the first to donate money if I knew for sure it was paying for flour, medical care, and diapers. It's true I'd feel even better if the first in line to receive those things were people who didn't vote for Hamas . . . but fine, I won't split hairs to that extent. But don't ask me or the government that represents me to do anything, anything at all, to bail out a government led by murderers of innocent children. The very idea is a joke.
Now, regarding the idea of the PA getting their aid from Iran instead . . . yes of course that will be bad. However, there are times when one has to consider the ramifications of one's actions not only on others, but also on oneself. For the US to say "well, the PA is going to get their aid from somewhere, it may as well be us rather than Iran" may sound reasonable at first, but it means that the US would be throwing money to, in RenReb's words, "murderous bits of filth." How can the US be waging a "war on terror" and then make out checks to a government led by Hamas? It's just a joke. It doesn't matter what would happen instead.
The US has to stand by its values, even if the result is ugly. That's called "having integrity."