International sponsors of a stalled Mideast peace plan agreed Saturday to channel aid to cash-starved Palestinians for health care, utilities and social services, while continuing a boycott of the militant-led Palestinian government.
The United States went along with a compromise plan to send mostly European money through the World Bank for services and to pay stipends directly to poor people in the Palestinian territories.
Establishment of the fund is an acknowledgment that an international aid freeze imposed after the surprise election victory of Hamas militants in January has had unintended and harsh consequences for ordinary Palestinians.
As Caroline Glick so aptly point out last month:
[E]very cent transferred in "direct aid" to the Palestinians is money that will prevent Hamas from failing. Every well-fed Palestinian welfare case will be a vindication for the Palestinian people's decision to vote Hamas into power. Every penny of Western and Israeli aid tells them that they may both escalate their war against Israel while officially joining the global jihad and eat well on the Israeli/ American/ European dole.
Others are funding Palestinian terrorism more directly. From AP: Hamas pays Palestinian workers with cash.
Thousands of Palestinian workers left postal banks carrying crisp $100 bills Monday, their first payday since March, as the Hamas-led government dipped into suitcases full of cash its officials carried into Gaza to circumvent a Western aid cutoff.
Payday joy was tempered by the knowledge that the sanctions have forced the Hamas-led government into bankruptcy and hamstrung its activities. The West demands that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence and accept previous peace accords, but Hamas refuses. As a result, the West has cut off much-needed aid to the Palestinian government. ...
Last week, Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader, hauled $20 million in cash across the Egyptian border into Gaza, and another official followed with $2 million. Hamas officials said the money came from private donations and Islamic charities.
The money distributed to workers Monday came from those suitcases.
Though Hamas officials insist they will continue carrying cash across the border, it is not nearly enough to solve their government's financial crisis.
UPDATE -- June 26: Dave Bender has more: Israel FM spokesman on Gaza chaos: Extremists uninterested in Pals' well-being.
Posted by Forkum at June 20, 2006 04:23 PM