Powered by WebAds

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cabinet Transfers Money to Hamas-Led PA

On the same day that the Israeli 'cabinet' decides to transfer money to the Hamas'-led Palestinian Authority, former peace negotiator Dennis Ross writes in the Washington Post not to give Hamas a free ride. But of course, Uncle Ehud knows better.....

The Cabinet on Sunday agreed to transfer about NIS 240 million owed to the Palestinians, after delaying the payment last week.

Cabinet Minister Zeev Boim said the transfer was taking place Sunday.

The government had been expected at its weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday to decide to transfer the millions in customs and tax revenue Israel was supposed to have given the PA on Friday so that the Palestinian Authority can pay January salaries to its 135,000 workers.

Likud Chairman and prime minister hopeful Binyamin Netanyahu blasted the decision, saying, "We are trying to create international pressure against Hamas - so every shekel we give to a Hamas-led government is unexplainable."

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer indicated Saturday he would advise the government to transfer the funds.

"I generally prefer to abide by agreements I've signed," Fischer said in an Israel Radio interview. "So that is at least one rationale for transferring the money. There are all kinds of other rationales, but that is my starting point." [Hey Stanley - if I make an agreement with you and violate everything in it from Day One, will you still keep your side of the bargain? If so, I've got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Just pay me $100 million and I'll tell you where it is. CiJ]

Under the 1995 Israel-PA interim agreements, Jerusalem is to transfer to the PA each month the customs and tax revenues it collects at the ports and crossing points on behalf of the PA.

Israel held up transferring the funds following Hamas's victory in the Palestinian Legislative Council election, saying that it wanted to "wait and see" whether Hamas would be in the new PA government before going through with the transfer. Hamas does not recognize the interim agreements, nor any PA agreements with Israel.

One government official said that Israel wanted to make sure, however, that the money would only be going to pay the salaries, and would not somehow end up in Hamas's hands. [What a bunch of nonsense. Money is fungible. Every penny that the 'Palestinians' don't have to use to cover their other 'expenses' is going for terror. CiJ]

The PA is facing a severe financial crisis, due to the Israeli decision not to transfer tax revenues and a European decision late last year to withhold funds because of lack of transparency in the PA and because the PA hired new workers and raised salaries. [Maybe they should have to live with the consequences of their actions for a change? CiJ]


The US administration, meanwhile, is working to ensure a flow of foreign aid to the PA to deal with the financial crisis the Palestinians are facing. A senior administration official said Friday that though the US itself cannot assist the Palestinians directly, it was trying to find ways to help the Palestinian interim government overcome its cash flow problems.

"We've taken a decision here that we want to support the interim government under President Abbas," the official said. "They have a significant need for outside support and we have agreed to try and help them with this process, trying to make sure that other potential donors are trying to be supportive."

The US expects the major donors of the PA, namely the EU, Japan and Arab countries, to find ways to provide the PA with cash [whether or not they are legal? CiJ] that will be used mainly for paying salaries of workers in the public sector.

The senior administration official added that the main goal of the US now is to "strike the right balance" between making sure that the Palestinian people are not cut off from all foreign aid, and the need to make sure money does not get to the hands of terrorists. [See my comments above regarding the fungibility of money. This is Olmert's fault. As soon as he decided to deal with Hamas, he opened the floodgates to this sort of thing. CiJ]


At present, the US is not putting pressure on Israel to move ahead with the dismantling of illegal settlements, a provision detailed in the road map. The senior official said that the US still expected Israel to live up to its obligations on the issue of settlements and outposts, but "our preference is to give the government of Israel, the people of Israel space in which to deal with these issues." [The US doesn't need to pressure Israel. Uncle Ehud will do it all by himself. CiJ]

The official added that the violence in Amona last week was "a matter of some concern" to the US. The administration will not call on Israel publicly to dismantle more outposts, since this would be seen as a pressure which would make things more difficult for Israel. [Yeah, it could even make Olmert lose the elections and of course we wouldn't want that to happen. /sarc CiJ]

Meanwhile, in the Washington Post, Dennis Ross advises to Give Hamas Nothing for Free.


With 77 percent of Israelis in a poll believing even before the Palestinian elections that there was no Palestinian partner for peace, Hamas's stunning victory may only reinforce the Israeli impulse toward unilateral separation. The problem, of course, is that separation or disengagement is not a simple proposition, especially when it comes as to the West Bank. Unlike Gaza, where the distances from major Israeli cities are significant, the West Bank is so close as to breed serious Israeli security concerns. Can Israel be sure that short-range Qassam rockets won't be fired from the West Bank at its cities and communities? Will Israel, even if it takes the very painful step of evacuating settlements from a significant part of the West Bank, preserve either a military presence or a readiness for rapid intervention to preempt terrorist attacks from Palestinian areas?

Though recognizing that the answers to these questions are complicated, the Israelis are likely to proceed anyway, given the public's desire to resolve demographic problems and shape both its borders and its future without letting either be held hostage to Palestinian dysfunction or outright rejection. [The 'demographic issue' is nonsense. See Corruption in the Census. CiJ]


The Israeli position (and the international community's as well) should be a mirror of that posture: Hamas gets nothing for free. It has to prove it will change. It may want quiet for its own needs, but it will try to use this necessary "calm" to get recognition from the outside and goods from the Israelis.


Israel will not go along with a "calm" that gives Hamas all the benefits and yet requires nothing of it. [Want to bet? CiJ] Calm punctuated by acts of terrorism (and a buildup of capability for even greater acts of terrorism later on) would mean no calm to the Israelis. They will act to preempt attacks and any buildup of the terrorist infrastructure. Meanwhile, it can be assumed that Hamas will seek to do the minimal and gain the maximal.

But it must not be let off the hook.

Hamas cannot be allowed to avoid making choices. Any hope of seeing this Palestinian party transformed by the realities of having to govern will fade if its ideologists can show that change is unnecessary. At some point, Israel may let some non-Hamas Palestinians act as go-betweens to see whether a de facto relationship is possible, but Israel's terms will be clear, particularly on security. [Sorry, Dennis, but we've screwed it up already. CiJ]

Read the whole thing.


At 2:31 AM, Blogger Freedom Fighter said...

I can't imagine what the government was thinking!

How can Israel protest about the EU funding Hamas when ISRAEL is doing it?

I hope the Israelis have better sense than to elect Olmert PM.

My own choices would be Effie Eitem and/or Benny Elon...but neither has any chance at all.

Great site, BTW.


Post a Comment

<< Home