International community pledges $5.4 billion for Hamas, less than $1 billion to fight EbolaMichael Freund comments.
Consider the following. At the Gaza donor conference, which was held in Cairo, a whopping $5.4 billion was pledged, half of which will go towards rebuilding efforts while the rest will be used to sustain the budget of the Palestinian Authority, which now includes Hamas, through 2017.Read the whole thing.
In other words, even though the Palestinians siphoned off previous aid and used it to prepare for war with Israel, they are once again becoming recipients of Western largesse.
Needless to say, the funds pledged are not contingent on Hamas disarmament, nor will any demands be made of the terrorist group to cease building tunnels to try and burrow into Israel and murder innocent civilians.
Worse yet, by alleviating the humanitarian difficulties confronting Gaza residents, the international community is effectively reducing popular pressure on Hamas to refrain from sparking another conflict and mitigating popular anger against the terrorist group.
Indeed, the decision to funnel billions to Gaza is so dramatically short-sighted, and so remarkably stupid, that it makes one wonder if Europe and the Obama administration even understand what their own interests are. After all, why on earth would they want to assist Hamas, even indirectly, to strengthen its position vis-à-vis the Palestinian population? The inanity at work here is even more pronounced when one considers that the United Nations has been having difficulty raising just $1b. to fight Ebola.
Although the disease has killed more than 4,000 people and spread to at least seven countries, UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said on Friday that just $250 million – a mere one-quarter of the amount needed – has been raised thus far. “I now appeal to all member states to act generously and swiftly,” Eliasson said, adding that, “Speed is of the essence. A contribution within days is more important than a larger contribution within weeks.”
And so, even though the number of Ebola cases is reportedly doubling every three to four weeks, billions of dollars will be lavished on Gaza rather than on the jeopardized populations of Liberia and Sierra Leone.
UPDATE 11:42 PM
Khaled Abu Toameh has some more reasons why paying to rebuild Gaza is a bad idea.
First, the promised funds absolve Hamas of any responsibility for the catastrophe it brought upon the Palestinians during the confrontation with Israel.
Now the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will no longer be asking Hamas to compensate them for the loss of their houses and family members. Any Palestinian who asks Hamas for financial aid will, as of now, be referred to the PA or the donor states.
Hopes that the catastrophic results of the confrontation would increase pressure on Hamas or perhaps trigger a revolt against it have faded now that the PA and the donor states have become the address for distributing financial aid.
Second, the talk about rebuilding or repairing infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is the best thing that could have happened to Hamas. The funds promised by the donor states will help rebuild various Hamas-controlled installations in the Gaza Strip, such as ministries, security bases, universities, mosques and charities. The infrastructure in the Gaza Strip is almost entirely controlled, directly and indirectly, by Hamas.
All investment in the Gaza Strip's infrastructure will ultimately serve Hamas's interests, even if such work is being carried out by the Palestinian Authority.
Third, Hamas members and supporters would be among those entitled to some of the money coming from the Western and Arab donors. The Palestinian Authority would find it impossible to hand out money only to Abbas loyalists in the Gaza Strip, having already promised to take care of all Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, regardless of their political affiliations.
Four, the financial aid has not been conditioned on Hamas laying down its weapons or even ceding control over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority. From now, the PA will be working toward rebuilding the Gaza Strip while Hamas will use its own resources to smuggle in additional weapons and prepare for the next war with Israel. This seems to be the agreed division of responsibilities between Hamas and the PA.
Five, there is no guarantee that the billions of dollars would have a moderating effect on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or turn them away from Hamas. Some Palestinians are even worried that the international community might be trying to bribe the PA to stop it from pursuing plans to seek unilateral UN recognition of a Palestinian state. Others believe the promised funds are intended to stop the PA from signing the Rome Statute as a first step toward joining the International Criminal Court, in order to file "war crimes" charges against Israel.Oh - and did I mention that Hamas 'only' asked for $4 billion? The international community really outdid itself on this one.
Read the whole thing.