Pushing Palestinians more to poverty pushes Hamas closer to Iran

It seems that Bush's administration doesn't realize its mistakes except after reaping wrong results.

Pushing Palestinians more to poverty pushes Hamas closer to Iran

It invaded Iraq to gain influence and use the country's natural resources, it ended up fighting more than one country who joined the battlefield and is now suffering tremendously as a result of a failing war that swallowed much of the U.S. taxpayers' money.

Same thing happened in Palestine. To pressure Hamas whom it fears its influence, Washington led an international initiative to cut aid sent yearly to the Palestinian Authority, but to its astonishment that brought Hamas closer to Iran, which means the U.S. is now fighting a more influential enemy.

Israel also froze tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, making it unable to pay civil servants' salaries.

British parliamentary committee on development assistance and the Palestinian Authority found recently that the Western aid cut aimed at pressuring Hamas to either step down or recognise Israel's right to exist produced unexpected results.

The Commons International Development Committee said that unplanned Western attempts to isolate Hamas-led Palestinian government pushed the group, which the U.S. and the EU consider a terrorist organization, closer to Iran, another U.S. enemy.

"Hamas now has closer links to governments like that of Iran than it had two years ago. We doubt whether this is a development that the international community would have intended," the committee said in its report which was released yesterday.

Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the committee, noted that the international community had created a dangerous situation where Hamas has no accountability either to the people or to the Palestinian Authority.

"We're saying the situation is unsustainable and the government's refusal to talk to Hamas could be counter-productive," Bruce, a Liberal Democrat, said.

"The clear message is that if this goes on for much longer it will effectively collapse the Palestinian state," he further stated, adding that it was not enough for Britain to just hope for a breakthrough in the peace process.

Like many humanitarian and human rights groups, the same committee warned two years ago against extreme poverty and malnutrition rates among Palestinians, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, saying they were as bad as parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

But the aid boycott move by the main western powers following Hamas' victory in last year's Palestinian elections, due to the Islamic group's refusal to recognize Israel, worsened Palestinians' poverty and hardship, forcing the Hamas-led government to turn to Iran for funding instead.

Last year, Iran announced it'd donate £125m to the Palestinian Authority to help Hamas survive an international boycott imposed by Western powers following its sweeping victory in January 2005 elections.

And recently, a top official in the Hamas-led government reported that Iran replaced the European Union as the biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority.

The committee however didn't call for ending aid boycott; on the contrary it said that it was right to place pressure on Hamas to change policies, which it claimed went against efforts to solve the long standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But it said such goals would have been perfectly achieved through dialogue and engagement rather than isolation.

''The danger of the current approach is that it might push Hamas into a corner which encourages violence,'' the report said.

The committee called on the international community to hold Israel to its promise of implementing a November 2005 agreement with Palestinians, which stipulates facilitating the movement of people and goods within the Palestinian territories.

It concluded that the so-called Temporary International Mechanism, created to provide aid directly to the Palestinians while boycotting Hamas, was not a suitable fix.

"The Temporary International Mechanism was a timely response to the crisis... but is insufficient to cope with it," the report concluded. "Increasing donor assistance is not the answer to the problems facing the Palestinians."

Experts have been warning that the international aid boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian government gave chance to Iran to step up its influence in the region. Previously, Palestinians were closer to Sunni regimes such as Saudi Arabia.

Also Yuval Diskin, the head of Israel's secret service, Shin Bet, has warned recently that international sanctions against the Hamas-led government were forcing it into a closer relationship with Iran.



Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16