Saturday, September 09, 2006

Squeezing Hamas' Cash Flow

The economic warfare against Hamas is intensifying.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh declared on Friday that his embattled Hamas-led government had no intention of stepping down, despite a sweeping civil service strike and an economic crisis that a top UN official said has brought the Gaza Strip to a "point of near meltdown."

Hamas' takeover of the Palestinian Authority in March has provoked crushing international sanctions that have rendered the government unable to pay its 165,000 employees for the past six months.

In the widest sign of growing displeasure with Hamas, tens of thousands of teachers, health workers and other government employees launched an open-ended strike last Saturday. The work stoppage, organized in large part by the rival Fatah movement, has threatened to bring down the government.
However, Hamas has no intention of resigning.
In New York, Karen AbuZayd, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said conditions in Gaza have reached a breaking point. Yet instead of forcing Hamas to moderate, the tough policies have made the Palestinians more intransigent, she said.

"Strangulation of commerce and trade has ruined the economy, brought institutions of government to a point of near meltdown and badly shaken the society," she said. "These pressure tactics have not resulted in a desire for compromise but rather have created mass despair, anger and a sense of hopelessness and abandonment."
Wars end when one side or the other lose all hope. It looks like the Palestinians may be close to that point. So what is the UN response? Predictable:
She called on the international community to provide Gaza with a peacekeeping force or observer mission, saying Gaza's 1.4 million people deserve protection.

"It would be great to have an international presence, civilian, military, whatever," she said.
Well it won't be the UN. The Gazans destroyed the UN offices in one of their frequent rampages.

To turn on the cash flow Hamas needs to do three things:

1. End terrorism
2. Accept previous agreements with Israel
3. Recognize Israel

Unfortunately, if Hamas did those three things it would be destroyed by the Palestinians. Such a lovely people. Let us hope they enjoy their state. Such as it is.

Another article on the Cash Flow Jihad with links to some of my previous articles in the series can be found at Iran Cash Flow Squeezed

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