I recently posted on the Obama administration waiving restrictions to release aid funding to the Palestine Authority (PA). I pointed out that some of that funding makes its way to Hamas. Apparently, some of the blogosphere didn’t like that implication as they have taken to several forums to express their disagreement. So let’s take a look at Hamas funding and see if they’re correct.
The U.S. provides over half a billion dollars annually to the PA. About $200 million of that goes directly into a general fund not tied to contracts and can be spent in any way the PA wishes. The PA pays the salaries of approx. 20,000 Hamas members who make up part of the security forces for both the West Bank and Gaza territories. It’s legal and effectively skirts the restrictions against directly funding a terror organization.
Hamas utilizes its dawa as the mechanism to fund charitable activities. This infrastructure provides welfare, education and other social safety net services. They also provide direct monetary support to families of victims of violence incurred primarily against Israel. This is another direct conduit to provide financial support to Hamas terrorists and their families.
The dawa receives charitable contributions from a variety of sources including ex-pats, Iran, the World Bank, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency and the PA. On the surface, it appears legitimate, however, aid can be channeled toward favored recipients, including Hamas. This slush fund style setup should be very familiar to Americans as we have witnessed countless trillions siphoned off through crony capitalism and special interest payoffs over the years without any true accounting.
Hamas operates the tunnel system used for smuggling into Gaza. They charge a fee and tax the goods that utilize it as well. Weapons tranfers from Libya to Hamas in Gaza were coordinated by the CIA and U.S. State Dept. and cost Ambassador Chris Stevens his life. Stevens coordinated the funding from Qatar, the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia to accomplish the transfers and those fees also directly go to Hamas.
Let’s say you disregard all of the above as fiction. Perhaps you buy the notion that Hamas is all about baby seals and bunny rabbits and all allegations of redistributing funds cannot be validated. Soon, it won’t matter. Fatah and Hamas signed a unity agreement framework in May of 2011. Fatah’s Abbas and Hamas’s Meshal are now working to implement this reconciliation of the West Bank and Gaza. There will no longer be any dispute as to funding ending up with Hamas. Fatah is quickly losing credibility and has little choice but to cut the deal or face irrelevance.
Then we will see if the world will put up or shut up on foreign aid to Palestine. Officially, Hamas will renounce terrorism and the PA has already succeeded in U.N. recognition. Hamas has been laying the groundwork by rejecting Iranian funding as a prerequisite to sell their ‘turning over a new leaf’ mantra. The Arab Spring and rise of the Muslim Brotherhood has many faces and the takeover of Palestine won’t follow the recent path of violent overthrow of the regime. Odds are the U.S. will fall right in line with Obama in charge and insure that foreign aid gets through.