01/31/06 — Hamas? We’d be fools to send money

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Hamas? We’d be fools to send money

To the surprise of many, including the United States, Hamas won an overwhelming victory in the Palestinian elections.

Hamas is an unabashed supporter of terrorism and has been unwavering in its insistence that Israel has no right to exist.

For a day or so after the unexpected outcome of the election, some in our own country debated whether the U.S. should continue sending millions of dollars in financial support of Palestine.

But it didn’t take the White House long to make that decision.

President George Bush announced U.S. aid would be halted unless Hamas renounced violence and its commitment to destroy Israel. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice echoed the same remarks from London. Germany vowed not to talk with the Hamas leaders until they reject violence.

Meanwhile, Israel, which has been sending millions to Palestine in tax rebates and customs receipts it collects for the Palestinian government each month, says no such funds would be forthcoming to a Hamas government.

These developments are interesting in light of the fact that the Palestinian Authority already is bankrupt — saddled with a $69 million deficit for January alone.

As believers in a democratic form of government, the people of the United States should respect the Palestinian electorate. If Palestinians want to follow a course of terrorism and the destruction of neighboring Israel, we can not change that determination.

But they should be told unmistakably that the taxpayers of the United States will not be contributing a dime to such efforts.

A few hand-wringers in this country have been quick to warn that if we cut off assistance, Hamas can get more aid from Iran, which agrees with its policy of terrorism and destruction of Israel.

So what?

Stepped up terrorism and attacks on Israel are the undenied priorities of Hamas. We forthwith should divert any funds previously envisioned or earmarked for Palestine to thwarting such efforts. And if Hamas suddenly puts on a peace-loving face, we should not buy it. People bent on murder and wholesale genocide of a nation won’t hesitate to tell a lie in exchange for millions of dollars.

Published in Editorials on January 31, 2006 10:02 AM