Friday, April 14, 2006

Hittin' the tip jar for Hamas

The Palestinian cash cow that used to be the West suffered another blow today
when the US barred doing business with the Hamas government.

The U.S. government made it official today as a Treasury Department document barred American citizens, U.S. companies and foreign companies operating in the United States from doing business with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, warning violators could face sanctions.

The U.S. Treasury Department gave them 30 days to terminate ongoing contracts and programs with the Authority.

"Transactions with the Palestinian Authority by U.S. persons are prohibited, unless licensed," a Treasury Department document said, citing "existing terrorism sanctions programs."

Treasury Department spokeswoman Molly Millerwise said: "Companies operating in the U.S. are subject to U.S jurisdiction. Likewise, U.S. companies operating abroad are still subject to U.S. jurisdiction and must abide by U.S. law."

The U.S. Treasury Department made exceptions for the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations, authorizing "activities and transactions with the PA that are for the conduct of ... official business."

U.S. diplomats and other government officials are already prohibited from having any contacts with members of the new Hamas government, although contacts with President Mahmoud Abbas, Abbas's office and non-Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament are allowed.

One major problem the Green hats have run into that they didn't count on was banking services. Afraid of U.S. sanctions, lots of banks are simply refusing to do business with a Hamas-led government. Apparently, it's tough to make payroll and finance terrorism on a cash basis.

The Patriot Act and other U.S. laws give the Bush administration the power to crack down on companies and individuals that provide any "material support" to Hamas, and make it extremely costly.

And even non-U.S. citizens who maintain contacts with the Palestinian Authority could also face penalties...under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, foreign nationals could be denied a visa "as a result of activities associated with terrorism".


For his part, I have to give at least a little credit to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, for dumb courage if nothing else. Haniyeh is adamant that the sanctions would not bring down his government or force any changes in the Hamas agenda.

"We are prepared to eat salt and olives," he told his supporters after Friday prayers in the Gaza Strip.

It may come to that.

The Palestinians are even using the Hamas website to ask people to contribute a little money to the cause. I wonder if Hamas has a PayPal or Amazon account??!?

In actuality, while the Hamas finance minister is predicting financial collapse and even starvation unless the Arab countries start paying off on their pledges of aid, the Palestinians are actually continuing to recieve `humanitarian aid' from the World Bank, UNRWA and other NGO's like Oxfam..the problem for Hamas is that with the new restrictions on direct aid by the US and other Western nations, most of the money is not going through Hamas - which makes it tougher to divert funds for bomb belts, or skim off significant amounts in those bank accounts in Europe or the UAE. Notice I said `more difficult' and not `impossible'.

Of course, Hamas could end all this by realizing that a viable Palestinian State can only exist if it has peaceful diplomatic and economic cooperation with Israel. Hey, wait a miniute...they could even recognize Israel's right to exist..maybe even admit that the Qu'ran's take on Jews is a little harsh and that this is the modern era, after all. There could be peace! They could utilize Israeli knowhow to revitalize their economy, attract investors and provide a decent life for their children instead of training them to blow themselves up....this could be a MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH!!!!!


Death to Israel and the Jews,yadda yadda. Why change now just when things are going so well?

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