make a donation












Why Donate to FLAME?

By supporting FLAME, you help fund our ads in national media, like U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, The Nation, The National Review, The American Spectator, The Washington Times National Weekly, and others. You help publish our messages in Jewish publications, both in the U.S. and in Israel, among them The International Edition of the Jerusalem Post. Finally, your donation helps us publish our messages monthly in over fifty small-town newspapers, all across the United States and Canada.

"


Facts and Logic About
the Middle East
P.O. Box 590359
San Francisco, CA 94159
(415) 356-7801

 

March 8, 2006

How much money should the U.S., Israel and the European Union give to terrorists like Hamas?

Dear Friend of FLAME:

The issue of whether to continue giving money to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) after the electoral victory of Hamas seems simple on the surface: If Hamas refuses to recognize Israel, if they refuse to abandon terrorism, if they disavow the "road map," they shouldn't get any more money. On the other hand, there are those who argue that there is aid . . . and there is aid. Most of the hundreds of millions of dollars in aid that came from the U.S. and the European Union (as well as tariffs collected by Israel for the P.A.) was essentially wasted---going to support terrorists, corrupt officials, or do-nothing Palestinian bureaucrats and police. Indeed, the Palestinian economy was functionally bankrupt before Hamas was elected, and now the already poor Palestinian people face increasing poverty. Should all U.S., European and Israeli aid now be withheld from the Palestinians? How can we justify funding terrorists . . . but how can we justify starving millions of "innocent" Palestinian civilians? While Hamas can surely be trusted to use discretionary funds to wage a terrorist war on Israel, the group also has a history of honest governance and social good works. Thus some have argued that the international community should continue to provide humanitarian (and only humanitarian) aid to the P.A. Others have taken a hard line, asserting that Hamas (and those who voted for them) must be brought to heel. Ultimately, that's the position taken by Hillel Frisch in his article below. Frisch, a senior researcher in the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, and the author of books and articles on Palestinian and Arab politics, argues that stopping international aid will have a sobering effect on the Palestinian body politic and that making the Palestinians reap what they have sown is the most humanitarian act of all. I think you'll find his analysis edifying.

Best Regards,

Jim Sinkinson
Director, FLAME

P.S.   While the election of Hamas to power in the Palestinian territories makes the threat to Israel clearer and more frightening than ever, Israel has been beleaguered by Arab aggression for more than 80 years. To get a quick history of the struggle of the Jewish people for a homeland---and the treachery they have faced every step of the way---I urge you to review the FLAME message on this subject: "Peace in the Holy Land: Does Israel's intransigence stand in the way?"---which you can find at http://www.factsandlogic.org/ad_93.html. (To print this message out to distribute to friends and colleagues, just click on the "Printer Friendly Version" button at the top of the page.) If you support FLAME's commitment to publicize the truth about the enemies of Israel and the U.S.---our ads in national media now reach more than 3 million people a month!---I urge you to join thousands of "friends of FLAME" in supporting this work with a small (or large, of course) tax-deductible donation. In great numbers we can make sure the truth is told. Any amount---$50, $100 . . . or whatever you can afford---will help us continue. In the meantime, thanks for your continued support.

Throttle a Hamas Government Financially
By Hillel Frisch, bitterlemons.com, February 27, 2006

Finally there is an issue all Israelis, left and right, and the principal western states can rally around: to throttle a Hamas government financially until it acknowledges Israel's right to live as a Jewish state, disavows in an official document the use of violence in settling the Israeli-Palestinian and Israel-Arab conflicts, and dismantles its military arm.

Not only is there an imperative to do so, but such a policy must be applied immediately. Hamas and other factions are developing the capabilities of hitting at major strategic objectives in and around Ashkelon, thereby increasing the prospects of a mega-catastrophe. Israel's reaction will be massive, resulting in complete disintegration of the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian political and social anarchy. In such circumstances, any possibility of negotiations will be delayed for years, and Palestinian hardship will finally reach levels Palestinian propagandists attribute erringly to the present situation.

Why tough love works

A hard-line policy will not only avert disaster but potentially create the seeds for peace. Hamas is a pragmatic organization that recognizes power for what it is, behaving rationally rather than being dominated by sentiment and affect. It knows that the world is dominated by a superpower, and therefore refrains from allying with al-Qaeda and from engaging in international terrorism, and takes pains not to harm American and western citizens locally even though it would love to do all three. Intensive Israeli and international pressure could possibly draw from the organization the more critical concessions outlined above.

Given a choice between promise and pitfall, even the most ardent dove should be aware of the critical importance of adopting a hard-line policy.

Being hard in order to be soft is of course difficult and counter-intuitive. So difficult has the task been that incumbent Israeli policy-makers have already raised three reservations to throttling the PA after the Hamas victory. Some have warned that President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) and his security apparatuses will fall, others have claimed that the axis of evil, Iran and al-Qaeda, will fill in the financial void, and still others point to the moral difficulty of stopping humanitarian aid.

None of these claims are justifiable in stopping aid to the PA.

Why aid should be stopped now

Abbas, many of us assumed, was a consummate player who had cleverly weakened his own side and strengthened the opposition in order to play off the two sides. The elections proved how unsuccessful he was in applying the strategy. With each succeeding day Abbas is proving to be the Palestinian Gorbachev, a spokesperson for the factions justifying the terror they engage in rather than leading the PA and his people, as his title of president should suggest. And with his fall, the Fateh faction and militia(s) he so ill-served seem to be beyond repair. "You can't kick a dead horse" should be our response.

As for the specter of Iranian aid, there is no reason that the security services of Jordan, Egypt and Israel cannot prevent the flow of a hundred million dollars a month--a very sizeable and traceable amount--to the small Palestinian economy. More important, they should have all the interest in the world to do so. Tracking down the couriers is even simpler. Past Iranian involvement in Palestinian terror, substantial but nevertheless limited, serves as ample proof of the difficulties of transferring funds of such magnitude.

Even stopping some of the discretionary international aid will have a significant impact. This aid is equivalent to one-third of the Palestinian GDP and probably half of total economic activity, due to the multiplier effects such inflows have on the Palestinian economy.

Do the Palestinians need and deserve financial aid?

How such a contraction in the Palestinian economy will affect Hamas was already tested in 1996, when Israel for the first time prevented Palestinian labor for prolonged periods of time from reaching the Israeli labor market. Withdrawing that carrot led to tremendous pressure on Hamas to desist from acts of terrorism. Such a policy should be all the more effective as Hamas now bears responsibility for the welfare of all Palestinian society.

As for the international aid argument, these donations are not a birthright, and most international aid is political rather than humanitarian. The Palestinians are the second largest recipients of international aid in the world. Were aid strictly humanitarian and based on objective criteria of need they would hardly deserve any. Even after five years of violence, the PA ranks 102 in the United Nations' Human Development Index out of 189 states on the list, hardly a position at the bottom of the heap. Nearly half of humanity, including citizens of Syria, Egypt, Sudan and Morocco are worse off. If the Palestinians want international aid they should be made to live up to international accountability by disavowing terrorism and recognizing a member state in the UN.

Ironically, it is cutting off international aid to the PA under Hamas that is humanitarian, given the possible catastrophic effects that continued terrorism directed against Israel may visit on the Palestinians. - Published 27/2/2006 bitterlemons.org

PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
If you'd like a printer-friendly, text version of this newsletter click the button below.

DONATE
How many times have you heard someone lament that Israel doesn’t have good public relations? By supporting FLAME, you help one of the world’s most powerful information efforts to spread the truth about Israel and the Middle East conflict. Please note that because FLAME is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, your donation is tax-deductible.

FORWARD TO A FRIEND
If you know of a friend or colleague who would appreciate learning more Facts and Logic About the Middle East, please forward this issue of the FLAME HOTLINE to them using the link below.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE FLAME HOTLINE
If you have received this issue of the FLAME HOTLINE from a friend or colleague and you'd like to subscribe, please use the link below.


Our Ads and Positions | Donate | Our Letters to Editors | Our Acquisition Letters
FLAME’s Purpose | Subscribe to Hotline Alerts | Home

©2004 FLAME. All rights reserved. | Site Credits | Contact Us

You are receiving this email because you have requested news, facts and analysis about Israel and the Mideast conflict. If you DO NOT want to continue receiving free messages like the one below, go here.