Saturday, April 22, 2006

On Hamas and funding

The reliably sensible Tim Newman has a very good piece up about the new Palestinian government, and the withdrawal of US and EU funds. In it, he decisively fisks the editor of this piece in The Gulf News
Giving aid to a foreign government can be construed as interfering in the internal affairs of another nation, but as this interference usually (but not always) has positive results, the interference is accepted and welcomed. The cessation of giving aid to a foreign country, or not giving aid at all, is synonymous with the reduction of influence in that country, as Cuba found out to its dismay once the USSR collapsed. By not giving aid to the Hamas government, the Western powers are to some degree reducing their overall interference in Palestine - precisely the opposite of what the editor is complaining about.
As much of the funds are for government employees, it means the security of Palestine is at stake.

Worse, it also means people cannot buy basic necessities.

Well, perhaps they should have thought of that before they voted in Hamas, who now have the sole responsibility of ensuring that people can buy basic necessities. If the Palestinian electorate preferred to see the Hamas government use their efforts and resources to attack Israel instead of providing basic necessities for the people of Palestine, then that was their choice. They may well want their government to do both, but they unable to do so, and they have no right to demand that outsiders interfere to enable them to do so. So until the next election, they are stuck with their choice.

And that, Mr Editor, is democracy.

Quite so. I have been told a number of times, by people who might fairly be in a position to know, that the Palestinians are extremely bright and well-educated. However, it really doesn't seem that way to this commentator. We all know that Fatah were a corrupt, self-serving bunch of arseholes, but electing Hamas was never going to be a good idea.

If the Palestinians are as intelligent as I have been led to believe, then they must have known what Hamas stood for; further, they must have known that if Hamas were to continue their ridiculous posturing on Israel, i.e. driving Israel into the sea, then the US, at the very least, would withdraw the funds. Neither the US nor the EU can be seen to be supporting a bunch of terrorists dedicated to destroying the only functioning democracy in the Middle East. If Hamas laid aside this particularly odious idea, then they would not be the party that the people voted for and so, either way, the Palestinians would not be satisfied.

People have pointed out that Hamas did good things in various regions, supplying services and so on (although I imagine that they were provided in much the same way as the Irish Provos supplied law and order, i.e. with threats of violence); none of this makes their stated aims any more laudable. The Palestinians voted in a bunch of terrorists and now they can hardly complain if money, that nobody was under any obligation to give to them anyway, has been withdrawn.

Perhaps they could take the IRA's fundraising route and go around US bars with collecting tins...

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