Earlier, in 'Ridin' The Gravy Train', I discussed the carrot of foreign aid that the Palestinians could be losing due to electing Hamas as a majority governing party. Hamas is claiming, once again, that's it's not a carrot but a stick.
RAMALLAH, West Bank - A top Hamas official said Tuesday the Islamic militant group will not be "blackmailed" by international threats to cut off aid to the Palestinians and is searching for new sources of funding.
"We are looking for alternative sources and we will not allow ourselves to be blackmailed," Hamdan said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Beirut, Lebanon. "We will not accept any conditions from anybody. At the same time, we are ready for dialogue."
Monday's meeting of the so-called "Quartet" of Mideast peace makers — the United States,, and Russia — stopped short of issuing an outright threat to Hamas.
But they said it is "inevitable" that future aid to a Hamas-led government "would be reviewed" if Hamas fails to renounce violence, recognizeand accept existing agreements between the Palestinians and Israel. Hamas leaders have rejected the Western demands.
Well, either you need the money for your people, or you don't. It's a fairly straightforward equation. Hamas should feel free to embrace terrorism, suicide bombings and the destruction of Israel as it's over-riding foreign policy directive, if they feel it is that important to their existence. The quartet involved in discussing foreign aid are perfectly free to decide that supporting a government that espouses those beliefs and principles is undeserving of support. This is the principle of economic sanctions that have been used repeatedly by the UN, the US and others to encourage belligerent nations to come to their senses. As I wrote:
There is a carrot, and there is a stick. Hamas is looking at the money as a stick with which they'll be beaten by withdrawal. But it is not a stick, it's a carrot, and should always have been treated as such. They could just as easily see it as a reward if their behavior and policies are appropriate for their new leadership position, a reward they'll need to earn. Absent those changes they should receive no carrot.
Calling it blackmail assumes that there is some entitlement to the money. I don't speak for anyone but myself, but I can assure Hamas that there is no such entitlement. The encouraging thing is that the quartet is fairly unanimous on this point, with only Vladimir Putin minimally wobbly.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said, "The moment the new government is in place, if Hamas has not adapted its platform as required, it will be very difficult for the EU to continue funding the."
"Russia has never declared Hamas a terrorist organization, but it doesn't mean we support and accept everything Hamas has done and all the statements it has made," he said.
"Only people who don't carry arms and don't engage in armed struggle can work in parliament," Putin was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.