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By Micah Halpern

Tuesday March 3, 2009


The official announcement was made on Monday, at the Donors' Conference held in Egypt, but the story was not news to any of the participants.

The news was leaked days before the event took place. The story splashed across newspapers throughout the country and in many parts of the Western world. The United States of America was pledging $900 million to the Palestinians.

Wow! That was the response of most of the people when they learned of the pledge. Didn't matter what side of the aisle they sat on, Republican of Democrat, pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, Muslim, Christian or Jew. $900 million is a lot of money.

The idea of the Donors' Conference, according to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose idea it was, was to create a forum through which money would be raised to rebuild Gaza. As a result of Israel's twenty-two day operation against Hamas in Gaza, which was a response to the terror strikes and constant barrage of rockets fired into Israel by Hamas, Gaza, which was never a luxurious spot under the care of the Palestinians, is pretty much a wreck.

Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister appointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, raised an ambitious nearly $5 billion at the Conference.

Pledges came in. The United States put Fayyad at nearly one-third on the way towards his goal. Israel has already given $100 million, a modest but still significant donation. The Quartet and other European countries came out saying that they were willing to give, as well.

Now comes the first AHA moment.

Salam Fayyad is the PA prime minister of the West Bank, not of Gaza. He, along with Abbas and the rest of the PA were kicked out of Gaza, ousted in a coup, by Hamas, a year ago last summer. They may care about the plight of the Palestinians of Gaza but they have no purview over Gaza. Now, Fayyad has a wonderful personal record. It was he who revolutionized the Palestinian Authority coffers. It was he who convinced Yasser Arafat to direct deposit government salaries thereby removing the temptation from Arafat to dip his fingers into everyone else's tills as he stuffed their envelopes with cash which was his favorite way of doing business.

Fayyad cares about the people of Gaza, but he has no way of controlling, overseeing or even monitoring the flow of money. That responsibility belongs fully and solely to Hamas because Hamas is the only address in Gaza.

Here's the second AHHAA moment.

It is against United States law to give money to Hamas. It is against United States law to transfer money to support terror. The US State Department considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization.

Congress, the governing body that set up these laws, will not be happy if money finds its way into the hands of terrorists. But how can it not? Nothing comes into or goes out of Gaza without some of it accidentally falling off a truck and going directly into the hands of Hamas. Nothing. Hamas totally controls Gaza. The Palestinian Authority has no police, no soldiers, no authority and no clout in Gaza. Unless Congress finds a way around Hamas, that $900 million will be going to Hamas. By dividing the allocation and announcing that they are giving $300 million to humanitarian relief in Gaza and the other $600 million to the PA for reconstruction Congress thinks they have found the way.

And now, the third AHHHAAA moment.

The Arab League, which also pledged money to Gaza at the Donors' Conference, has not yet fulfilled an earlier pledge to help out the people of Gaza. In January the Arab League obligated itself to a donation of $1 billion. That pledge, that obligation, has not yet been met.

As recently as last week, the Arab League explained that they could not deliver on the money while stability and unity between the Palestinians was unclear. In other words, the Arab League is uncertain. The Arab League is afraid that their money will fall into the wrong hands. And who understands the dynamics of Hamas leadership if not the Arab League?

Here comes the fourth AHHHHAAAA moment.

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4 June 2017 12:13 PM in Columns

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