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Monday, January 30, 2006

Promoting Democracy in the Middle East

Well, Bush got in Palestine what he says he's been wanting in Iraq - a democratically elected government, chosen by popular vote. So why is he not happy? Well, apparently because the Palestinians didn't vote for the guys Bush wanted to see elected. Those guys were too crooked and corrupt to get elected. Sound familiar?

So what does Bush do? He immediately draws a line in the sand, saying he will not deal with or provide aid to known terrorists. How phony is that? It's not like Fatah isn't the party of Yassir Arafat the Terrorist. (Yessir, remember, Yasser was a terrorist! It's how Fatah came to represent Palestine in the first place. Its why whenever Israel said that they would negotiate if they could get 30 days of no attacks, then 2 weeks, then one week, then 3 days, - it NEVER happened. ) Not like the Fatah guys don't still all carry guns. So, without waiting to see if Hamas will be reasonable, or anything about how they will behave as a government, he sends Condi Rice around the world saying we won't provide any aid to the Palestinian people because of the government they elected, and we don't think anyone else should either.

Humanitarian help to the Palestinians, many of whom are poor and unemployed, is likely on a "case-by-case basis," Rice said Sunday. She indicated that the administration would follow through on aid promised to the current, U.S.-backed Palestinian government led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

And just how will they administrate a 'case by case' basis? Who will do that work and what will the standards be? Will we let kids go hungry because their uncle is in Hamas? Meanwhile, Hamas is saying the people need the money and they will permit audits of the spending to ensure it goes to aid, not fighting Israel.

Western donors funneled about $900 million into the Palestinian Authority in 2005 — including $400 million from the United States — to pay salaries and finance desperately needed infrastructure projects. Failure to pay the 137,000 people on the Palestinian Authority payroll could lead to massive layoffs and ignite violence in an area bristling with guns.

Some Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the volatile situation, have cautioned that the Palestinian Authority could collapse if the outside support were to dry up.
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"We in Hamas are ready to meet and have an open dialogue with the Quartet," he told a news conference in Gaza City. "We assure you that all the money will be spent under your supervision."

So just what is Bush going to do? Cut off aid and destabilitze the entire area, causing even more violence? (He promised already) Go back on what he said he'd do? (Unlikely. He can't think hard enough to change his mind) Provide the aid in some other fashion so he can support the terrorists and hope nobody finds out? (More likely)

It's not that I think terrorism is acceptable. By no means. Frankly, I think Arafat and even Nelson Mandela should have been hanged; and I'd play along with Hamas now, so that they would take a more public stance and we could find out who they ALL are - just in case. But I do think Bush has painted himself into a corner where Israel will be or feel attacked, and Bush will be forced to defend it by attacking Palestine - the second step toward Armageddon. What're your thoughts?

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