Sunday, March 15, 2009

Money to burn?

From Scripps Howard News Service, Wed, 03/11/2009, by CLIFF MAY:

... Scores of donors gathered an "International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza," in Sharm El-Sheikh, a resort in Egypt where a total of $4.5 billion in pledges was collected.

The people of Gaza have long been receiving more aid per capita than just about any other group in the world -- a high multiple of what Darfurians receive -- but Gaza is in an especially sorry state these days. The reason: Gazans elected Hamas to rule them, and Hamas' has vowed to exterminate Israel and, in pursuit of that goal, Hamas routinely fires missiles at Israeli towns.

...Many in the "international community" criticized Israel's response as "disproportionate" despite the fact that it did not succeed in stopping the missile attacks. There have been over 100 since the "ceasefire" on Jan. 18. Logically, doesn't that suggest that the response was insufficient, rather than excessive?

What's more, Richard Kemp, former commander of British Troops in Afghanistan, carefully examined the Israeli military action and came to this conclusion: "I don't think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare where any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of civilians" than did the Israeli Defense Forces in Gaza, he told the BBC.

But the worsening crisis in Darfur has not gone entirely unnoticed. Hamas, as well as Hezbollah and their mutual sponsor, Iran, spoke out strongly -- in defense of Sudan's militant Islamist president, Omar al-Bashir, the individual most responsible for the death and destruction in Darfur.

Hamas supporters in Gaza even held a march in support of al-Bashir who recently expelled 13 aid agencies that had been attempting to assist Darfurians ...the Arab League said it would send a delegation to the United Nations to argue for the suspension of an international arrest warrant against al-Bashir.

...There is one nation in the Middle East that has opened its borders to refugees from Darfur. That nation is Israel. Perhaps Israelis see a parallel between Darfur -- which has been undergoing genocide -- and their nation, which was created after the genocide known as the Holocaust, and which is under genocidal threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

I don't mean to seem callous about the hardships being endured by Gazans. But I do mean to emphasize their responsibility -- and the fact that unlike the Darfurians they could alleviate their suffering by tolerating Israel's existence, and pursuing peace.

So long as they are led by Hamas, however, they must be guided by the Hamas Charter, which not only pledges to "obliterate" Israel, but also states plainly, "there is no solution to the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." With the exception, perhaps, of conferences that put dollars and Euros in their pockets.

(Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism. E-mail him at
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