Monday, October 02, 2006

A Power We Didn't Know We Had

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Hamas closes government offices:

A Hamas-funded clinic was one of the offices ransacked in Gaza.
The Palestinian government says work will cease in all government offices a day after its headquarters in Ramallah were stormed by protesters. The Hamas-led administration said the suspension also followed “attempts to kidnap officials.” The statement does not say when work will be resumed or what steps may be taken to keep the government running.

Deadly gun battles started in Gaza on Sunday after pro-Hamas militias moved to quell protests about unpaid wages. The government has announced the suspension of work in government institutions because of the attacks against the seat of government... and attempts to kidnap officials, according to Ghazi Hamad, Hamas government spokesman. Correspondents say the move to close government offices comes amid the most serious round of internecine feuding since Hamas took power in March.

Rival gunmen from Hamas and the Fatah movement clashed again on Monday, but there are no reports of injuries.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas has called for calm after Sunday's factional fighting, which left eight people dead and about 60 wounded. The Palestinian interior ministry said the Hamas militia had been ordered to withdraw and Gaza's streets were back under control of regular security forces.
These problems in Palestine have occurred because the United States has refused to continue its financial aid to that country until its leadership, Hamas, rejects violence and agrees to the existence of Israel. To comply, Hamas would have to change its charter, and they have been unwilling to do this. So, the financial spigots have been turned off, and the people of Palestine, supported largely by the United States, go unpaid. They are unhappy, and so now they rise up against their government.

First, this is a good thing. The faster Hamas is removed, the better.

It also exposes realities in the Middle East. The U.S. is the financial backbone of Palestine, plus a major contributor to Egypt, Israel, and others in the region. It appears, sometimes, that we give our largesse with no conditions. Finally, there are some strings attached.

Since it appears that our money is so powerful, I believe we ought to go one extra step. We ought to say to Palestine, make peace or else.

Once again, we worry so much about being “fair.” We don’t want to be seen as being too pro-Israel. This need of ours to be the nice guys is what makes our policies ineffective, from the war in Iraq to our Palestine-Israel efforts. We try to be the good guys and what does it get us? Vilification. The world hates us. No good deed ever goes unpunished.

Instead of trying to be nice, we ought to try being effective. We were forced into this strategy by Hamas’ extremist views against Israel. We turned off the money, and, voila, the Palestinians are turning against Hamas.

See, it works! Use it. Declare, Palestine, get serious about peace, stop using terrorism, or the money stops.

It’s the best leverage we have, and it will work.


(*Wikipedia is always my source unless indicated.)

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1 comment:

paz y amor said...

Damn man, I can't even argue with you on this one. Good point....