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February 26, 2006
Well, Let's Not Have That

The Palestinians might hate Jews, but they have a firm grasp on the concept of chutzpah. The Washington Post notes that the Palestinian Authority has now decided that American aid is an entitlement despite the rise of Islamist terrorists to power in the territories, and they warn of a "backlash" if that money doesn't show up on time and in full:

A senior U.S. diplomat told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that the Bush administration would provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians even after the radical Islamic group Hamas forms a cabinet in the coming weeks. ...

But Palestinian officials who met with Welch, the most senior U.S. official to visit the West Bank since Hamas's victory in parliamentary elections last month, said the pledge did not guarantee the continuation of U.S. development funds. The United States provided more than $400 million in development aid to the Palestinian territories last year, all of it channeled through nongovernmental organizations and U.N. agencies rather than the governing Palestinian Authority.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator and a legislator from Abbas's defeated Fatah movement, said Welch did not define what he meant by humanitarian assistance nor specify what funding would be maintained.

"They can continue doing this in exactly the same way," Erekat said. "But we did not get a commitment from them to do so. We urged them to continue sending money through these same channels for projects like schools, water infrastructure and other projects. Otherwise there will be a huge backlash."

Oh, a backlash? Perhaps they will elect terrorists to government -- er, wait, they've already done that. Maybe they'll start bombing Israeli citizens -- never mind, they're still doing that. They might start cheering when terrorists attack us -- oh, never mind, they've covered that as well.

If the Palestinians want our money, then perhaps they should have considered that when the elected Hamas to power. In fact, they should consider that when they strap bombs to their teenagers and young adults and send them into Israeli pizzerias and buses. It's disappointing that the US will not treat those elections as an informed choice by the Palestinians to support terrorism, even though a separate poll from last week clearly shows that the majority of Palestinians support terrorist attacks against Israel:

Strongly support 22.4
Somewhat support 33.8
Somewhat oppose 24.3
Strongly oppose 16.4
No answer 3.1

And bear in mind, this same poll shows that 79.8% of all Palestinians are optimistic about their future. Their support of terrorism isn't a desperate measure of a people with no other choices -- they want war and the murder of civilians.

In a Newsweek interview published today, the new Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, tries to say that the Palestinians are not "lovers of blood", but then skirts any question of negotiated peace with Israel:

Q. Do you accept the Oslo agreement, which was signed by Yasir Arafat? A. Israel has stopped completely committing itself to Oslo.

Q. I am not asking about Israel. Are you, as the new Palestinian prime minister, committed to Oslo?
A. How do you want me not to pay attention or care about what Israel says? Israel is the other side of the conflict.

Q. So you will not abide by past agreements made by the Palestinians and Israel?
A. I have not said that. I have said that Israel...

Q. But you are not the prime minister of Israel. Will you abide by past agreements made by the Palestinian governments?
A. We will review all agreements and abide by those that are in the interest of the Palestinian people.

Q. Do you recognize Israel's right to exist?
A. The answer is, let Israel say they will recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognize the rights of the refugees to return to Israel. Hamas will have a position if this occurs.

Q. So, would Hamas recognize Israel if it were to withdraw to the '67 borders?
A. If Israel withdraws to the '67 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages.

Q. Does a peace in stages mean the ultimate obliteration of the Jewish [state]?
A. We do not have any feelings of animosity toward Jews. We do not wish to throw them into the sea. All we seek is to be given our land back, not to harm anybody.

So they will not commit to a two-state solution, will not commit to a cease-fire, will not commit to negotiations -- but if they don't get American money, we'll see a "backlash".

I'd say they have nothing left with which to bargain. Cut them off, and let them see the American backlash instead.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 26, 2006 9:43 AM

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