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Throwing Money at Gaza

JINSA Report #: 

June 10, 2010

President Obama described the situation in Gaza as "unsustainable," and a White House statement said the administration "demands a significant change in strategy" while agreeing that "Israelis have the right to prevent arms from entering into Gaza that can be used to launch attacks into Israeli territory." Standing with Abu Mazen, the President announced $400 million in U.S. humanitarian aid for Gaza Palestinians. How? Even The New York Times acknowledged that it wasn't clear, "how Mr. Abbas, who has authority in the West Bank but no authority in Gaza, would be able to administer (the funds)."

State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley tried to make it all work:

There are two stories here. There's a compelling and urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza. And there is a growing economy and a relatively stable situation that is improving every day in the West Bank. What is the difference between those two? It is the nature of the government that is currently ruling in the West Bank and was part of a unified government until Hamas changed the situation on the ground in Gaza. So let's put the responsibility where it clearly lies... because Hamas chooses, rather than serving the needs of its people, to fire rockets at Israel, that's the reason why you have the current situation in Gaza.

Not quite accurate.

The "nature" of the Fatah government on the West Bank is that it believes, like Hamas, that the creation of Israel was a "naqba" and a mistake by the international community. It wants the mistake corrected with the dissolution of Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state in all of the territory of Mandatory Palestine, including Jordan. Fatah, like Hamas, rejects the legitimacy of Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East. And, like Hamas, Fatah believes in "armed resistance," having reaffirmed violence against Israel at its convention last summer. Unlike Hamas, however, Fatah believes that the dissolution of Israel can be accomplished by political means, so Fatah will discuss many things with the Government of Israel, including economics, day-to-day wellbeing for the people and even, temporarily, security.

In fact, Israel retains security control of the West Bank territory, protecting Abu Mazen from Hamas (because the American-built Palestinian Authority Security Force can't do it yet and JINSA remains concerned about the emergence of a Palestinian army under the above circumstances) as well as protecting Israeli citizens, thus establishing the fundamental conditions for economic growth-security and rule of law. The biggest economic problem for Palestinians there right now is the self-proclaimed "embargo" on working for/being paid by Israeli business, and buying goods made in Israel.

As for Gaza, there is no "compelling and urgent humanitarian crisis in Gaza." What there is in Gaza is a radical, Iranian-backed dictatorship that holds 1.2 million people hostage while it threatens Israel and insufficiently enthusiastic Palestinians.

The President suggested that, "While we work with our partners in the Palestinian Authority, Israel, Egypt, and the international community to put such a strategy in place, these projects represent a down payment on the United States' commitment to Palestinians in Gaza, who deserve a better life and expanded opportunities, and the chance to take part in building a viable, independent state of Palestine, together with those who live in the West Bank."

Why do they "deserve" a better life? They elected Hamas. To the extent that they made a mistake they now regret, we're sorry they're sorry. Money, however, is completely fungible. Any aid the United States thinks it is putting toward the needs of the people of Gaza will necessarily strengthen Hamas as UNRWA and the Red Cross both have to bow to Hamas in order to work. Any American tax dollars that pay for schools, housing, health care, etc. frees up Iranian dollars, passed through Egypt to Gaza, for Hamas to use in the purchase and smuggling of additional arms. Crowley acknowledges that Hamas won't spend money caring for its people so why should Americans pay to relieve Hamas of the burden?

We would do better to relieve the people of Gaza of the burden of Hamas.

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