As the Palestinians led up to their elections recently, the United States government repeatedly stated that it would have no dealings with Hamas, regardless of the outcome. As the election neared and Hamas looked more and more like they would make significant gains, we eased up a smidgen, spelling out exactly what Hamas would have to say — and more importantly, do — to win some modicum of recognition.
Well, Hamas did more than make significant gains — they won the elections outright. And instead of moderating their stance with their newfound responsibilities, they kept the same hard line that they believe won them the elections.
And lo and behold, the US government is keeping its word. We are ending our funding of the Palestinian Authority (which last year alone totalled over a quarter of a billion dollars) and will re-evaluate matters once Hamas starts acting like a semi-civilized, responsible party. (Frankly, I’m not holding my breath.)
This has a great many folks in a dither. What, the United States actually MEANT what it said? And is going to actually CARRY OUT what it said it would do? Why, the nerve!
Defenders of the programs being threatened tout all the potential benefits that will be lost if we actually carry out these actions. But looking at their list, I find myself wondering: we’ve been doing these for a long time, and I haven’t seen one positive thing for the US come out of it. In fact, I recall video on CNN of Palestinians in the streets celebrating the 9/11 attacks, praising Bin Laden, and cheering on American deaths.
The one objection that really strikes me as almost funny is the proclamation that this could prevent any Palestinians from receiving Fulbright scholarships. Apparently few people remember back in October 2003, when Palestinians blew up a convoy of US diplomats and other officials who were on their way to interview potential Fulbright scholars, killing three Americans.
The people of Palestine have spoken. They have chosen Hamas, and Hamas has chosen to continue its hard line and insistence on the destruction of Israel. We should under no circumstances protect them from the consequences of their decisions.