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Friday, April 07, 2006

Deja Vu All Over Again - Part 1: Euroweenies to Have Contact with Hamas

Somehow you just knew that this would happen.... The dhimmified Europeans are about to completely capitulate to Hamas - led by France, Sweden, Finland and - I'm sorry to tell you all - Denmark.

European leaders are likely to approve contact with Palestinian Authority functionaries, even if they are affiliated with Hamas-led ministries, to ensure the flow of humanitarian aid, European Union envoy Marc Otte has indicated to The Jerusalem Post. [Three words on this: Money is fungible. CiJ]

Otte made clear in an interview, however, that EU foreign ministers scheduled to meet on April 10 to draw up guidelines for relations with the new Hamas-led PA would continue to rule out any type of political or diplomatic dialogue with Hamas.

A policy of approving "technical" contact with the PA, but ruling out political contact, would place the EU at odds with the US, which ruled out contact by US officials with any PA official or functionary who is under the authority of PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh or who works in a Hamas-led ministry.


Otte said that the Europeans had not yet made as sweeping a decision regarding contacts with the PA as had the US, and "are looking carefully at what it means to implement the duty we imposed on ourselves to meet the basic needs of the Palestinians."

"This has to be done in a rational manner," he said. "There is a clear line between delivering on the promise to deliver humanitarian aid, and deciding to have a political dialogue with Hamas. The latter is excluded unless Hamas changes."

Regarding functional contact, however, he said "one has to take a realistic position that there should be a clear distinction between having dealings of a political nature with Hamas, and making sure that medication, water or electricity get to the right people."

Otte, speaking from his office in Brussels, said the EU would continue humanitarian assistance to the PA, and it was clear that a lot of these services would need to be delivered through the PA ministries. "If electricity breaks down, you have to repair a power station, you can't just send an e-mail," he said. [Money is fungible. If you want to get people to change their conduct, try cutting off their water and electricity for a while (or let it be cut off). You'll see how fast they will change. Why do the Europeans continually insist on giving the 'Palestinians' a free ride? CiJ]

Reuters quoted diplomats as saying that the Czech Republic lobbied for a complete EU break with the PA while France, Sweden, Denmark and Finland were most strongly in favor of giving Hamas more time to change. [I guess the Danes learned nothing from their experience with the cartoons. No more Carlsberg for me. CiJ]

Senior Israeli officials said that the Czech Republic and Poland, among the newest entries into the EU, had been the strongest supporters of maintaining a firm line against Hamas, along with longtime EU members Germany, Italy and Britain.


Otte added that Hamas could possibly meet the benchmarks by saying it was ready to negotiate with Israel, which would imply recognition; continue to abide by a cease-fire, which would indicate it had given up terrorism; and refrain from infringing previous agreements with Israel, which would imply acceptance of them. [Lest any of you think those 'benchmarks' are at all difficult to meet... CiJ]


Otte reiterated the EU position that Israel should continue transferring revenue and customs payments to the PA, which have been held up since Hamas members were sworn in to the Palestinian Legislative Council in March. He indicated, however, that there would be little pressure on Israel to do so at a time when Olmert was busy trying to put together a government. [So starting this summer, we can expect more pressure? CiJ]

He also indicated that one way Israel could transfer the money and ensure it not be used for terrorist purposes would be to use it to pay the PA's water, gas and electricity bills.

"Israel has to take a stance about what it plans to do with this money," Otte said. "Israel has said it would continue to provide electricity and water to the PA; who is going to pay for them?" [Maybe the money should be used to pay their outstanding bills, to repair some of the damage done by five and a half years of terrorism and to compensate terror victims. Not to mention that we should not be bound to continue providing water and electricity. CiJ]

Asked what Europe would like to see Olmert do immediately after assuming office, Otte said that extending an invitation to Abbas to negotiate would be a "huge confidence-building step" and a move the EU would obviously support. Making an interesting legalistic distinction, he pointed out that the PLO, not Hamas, conducts negotiations on behalf of the Palestinians.


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