Earlier this week, two of the defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case were sentenced to 65 years in prison for funneling twelve million dollars to Hamas, listed as a terrorist group by the U.S. which prohibits even humanitarian aid from such support. Although I’m pleased that the men were convicted of breaking the law, I’m confused by the fact that the U.S. government itself is guilty of the same offense. Last year, this country gave 575 million dollars to Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza, distributed through USAID (Agency for International Development) and UNRWA (United Nations Relief & Works Agency.
UNRWA is the only UN agency dedicated to one group of refugees alone. It employs 23,000 Palestinians and 100 UN professionals and has been in existence for three generations of so-called refugees. Normally, the word is restricted in its definition to the people who are themselves displaced by war or catastrophe; in the Palestinian case, the word refers to children and grandchildren of the original refugees who have been willfully maintained in squalid camps as political pawns in the fight against Israel. UNRWA administers social services including food, medical and educational assistance and employment help. By freeing the Hamas government from the need to pay for these essential amenities, it allows them to use the enormous sums of money donated by the European Union, Arab states and the United States for weapons and military training. UNRWA allowed terrorist groups to use their school facilities as summer camps for 25,000 children to be trained as prospective martyrs and has had its ambulances and warehouses used by terrorists as transport, arsenals and factories for counterfeit currency. The U.S. is one of the largest contributors to this agency which is intricately involved with supporting Hamas.
l. David Kris, assistant attorney general for national security, made this statement after the sentences were handed down in the Holy Land case: “These sentences should serve as a strong warning to anyone who knowingly provides financial support to terrorists under the guise of humanitarian relief.”
Since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993, the U.S. has given more than 1.3 billion dollars to the West Bank and Gaza. When you look at the news photographs of the condition of the Gazan population and read articles about their unemployment, their lack of housing, their medical problems, their dependence on anti-depressant drugs - isn’t it obvious that the money hasn’t been spent on them? And conversely, when you realize that Hamas has funded a steady barrage of rockets and missiles against Israeli civilians and intensive military training for suicide bombers - it’s all too clear where this money has gone instead. Our legislators have created a law to forbid supporting Hamas and our courts have just issued a loud proclamation punishing those who flout the law. Will the U.S. government heed this ruling?
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here