Politics

U.S. Aid Money May Be Supporting Hamas Under New Deal

| by Jared Keever

A recent announcement from the Palestinian Authority that it will send 3,000 police officers to Gaza could mean that U.S. aid is now indirectly supporting a designated terror organization.

A recent article from Fox News makes the case the $400 million the U.S. sends annually to the PA is now supporting Hamas, the group that rules the area of Gaza. The problem is that Hamas has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the right of the state of Israel to exist and Gaza has historically been the launching site of cross-border missile attacks on Israel. Hamas is considered a terrorist group by the U.S. government.

According to a report cited in the story no U.S. aid should be sent to the PA if they have engaged in an agreement with Hamas. The exception would be if the newly unified government would agree to the “the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist” and to accept “previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.”

The PA meets those conditions but so far Hamas has not. 

The chances that it will seem remote. Reuters reported last week that Hamas strategist Mahmoud al Zahar said the group had no interest in recognizing the right of Israel to exist. He went on to say that any talk to the contrary was the result of PA President Mahmoud Abbas trying to avoid losing the U.S. aid money.

"He is seeking a guarantee that U.S. financial support will continue,” he said. 

Abbas has said the new government would both recognize Israel and honor existing treaties. 

"Abbas is not telling them the truth. He says 'this is my government,’” Zahar said. “But it is not his government. It is a government of national unity. He is marketing it in this way to minimize the pressure.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the agreement between the Palestinian factions.

"It's a blow to Israel; it's a blow to peace," Netanyahu said. "It's a terrible blow to the Palestinian people, because they must choose ... whether they want to go forward or go backward. Yesterday, with the pact with Hamas, the Palestinian people ... took a huge step backward, away from peace, away from a good future for themselves.”

The agreement ended the months-long peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians being brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, but he has not yet commented on whether PA police officers in Gaza would lead the U.S. to cut aid.

Sources: Fox News, Reuters