Friday, January 27, 2006

Hamas:Business as usual for a terrorist state with the West

In spite of direct statements by Israel that it would not deal with a Hamas government and in spite of direct threats by the EU and the US to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if Hamas won the election, the finessing and backtracking has already started, as I predicted.

Hamas has made some clever moves to make it even easier for the donor nations to continue funding the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas will remain, for the time being, as a front man for the Palestinian Authority, and according to Joshapundit's information has already been in contact with Hamas kingpin Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, fresh from his strategy meeting with Iran's president Ahmadinejad.

Abbas has said that he is not resigning but will collaborate in full with the new Hamas rulers.

Mashaal and Abbas came to an agreement on appointing to new government with a goal towards providing old, trusted Fatah faces to deal with the important task of keeping the cash flow from the EU and the UN coming in. Hamas vetted and accepted Fatah’s Nabil Shaath, Socialist Dr. Mustafa Barghouti and independent former finance minister Salim Fayyad as part of the new government in ministerial posts dealing directly with the Palestinian's external relations. Fayyad is particularly important as he would be the key in getting the EU to uinfreeze its contributions. Hamas will take control of internal security with control over Palestinian security forces and intelligence services. The new Palestinian ruler will also take over the PA’s television, radio and press. Very democratic, right Dubbya?

Mashaal will be relocating from Damascus to the Palestinian Authority to oversee Hamas' control of their new state and to be the power behind Abbas.

With outside figures in the posts of Palestinian prime minister and finance minister, Israel may see the Hamas-dominated state gaining international acceptance. Israel’s refusal to recognize or negotiate with the Hamas government is likely to come under extreme pressure.

A key indicator will be whether the scheduled transfer of NIS 200m in tax refunds to the new Hamas government next month goes through. Hours after its election victory, Hamas issued a threat that any holdups in funds transfers to the new Palestinian administration would be considered an act of war, and would result in attacks inside Israel designed todisrupt its March 28 elections...and prime minister Ehud Olmert’s election prospects in particular.

Critics in Israel say that the transfer of money to the Hamas-ruled administration sends a wrong signal to donor-countries for their relations with the terrorist regime. Gee, ya think so, PM Olmert?

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