< HOME  Saturday, January 28, 2006

If you can't beat 'em at the POLLS, break 'em at the BANK

I knew it wouldn't take long for Israel to unleash its wrath on Hamas. But, instead of raining bullets it's draining cash from the economy. Unless Palestinians have a backup source of funds, it won't be long before all hell breaks loose.
[T]here [is] not enough money to pay the salaries of 135,000 Palestinian civil servants, including some 58,000 members of the security forces...

Because Hamas has not yet formed a government, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has asked American help . . . to ensure that Israel delivers the $40 million to $50 million owed to the Palestinian Authority from tax and customs receipts, which Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

The departing Palestinian economy minister, Mazen Sinokrot, said the 135,000 civil servants were the main breadwinners for 30 percent of Palestinian families. "If these salaries do not come in, this is a message for violence," he said.

Israeli officials suggested that Ehud Olmert, Israel's acting prime minister, would agree to release this month's money anyway, since a Hamas government has not been formed, but questioned whether Israel would agree to give any money to Hamas in the future. "We don't want to punish the Palestinian people," an official said. "But we don't have any illusions about Hamas."

* * *

[Former President Jimmy Carter] urged Israel and the world: "Don't drive the Palestinians away from rationality. Don't force them into assuming arms as the only way to achieve their legitimate goals. Give them some encouragement and the benefit of the doubt."
But, Hamas appears to be less concerned about a drop in funds.
Mahmoud Zahar, a top Hamas official, said in an interview in Gaza that he was not worried about the lack of money from the West.

"All the money from Europe and American went into the pockets of corrupt men," Mr. Zahar said, citing Palestinian security chiefs as a leading example. "The leaders of these services became multimillionaires. We are going to reform these services. This is our mission."
According to Ray Hanania at Counterpunch.org, Hamas has a track record for getting the majority of its donations to the social services it was meant to finance.
With funding Yassin raised and with Israeli funds directed through the Village Leagues, the Islamic Association built new mosques, new schools, hospitals and medical clinics. The group established social service and humanitarian agencies and even job creation venues. Despite its later turn to armed struggle and suicide bombings, Hamas meticulously directed nearly 95 percent of the funds it raised to these worthy humanitarian projects.
That explains their resounding success at the polls. Could Hamas surprise the US and Israel, yet again, and get by without "their" money?


At Saturday, January 28, 2006, Blogger Jeff G said...

Thank you, that was a very interesting and enlightening post.

One can only hope that wise, calm, and rational minds will prevail. I fear this will play out badly, but I truly hope that I am wrong.


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