Thursday, February 23, 2006

Who Will Fund Hamas

So if Canada joins the U.S. and Israel and doesn't fund the new Hamas government in Palestine, who will? Well who do you think.

Iran offers to fund Hamas government, says report

Saudis won't sign on to US isolation of Hamas

This kind of Isolationism is a political failure as history shows. While it may suit Israel's geopolitical agenda for the region, it is not a bandwagon that Canada should join. It ultimately alienates the world from the U.S. and its allies. And it economically makes no sense.

A VIEW FROM THE ARAB WORLD: A historical verge, or back to Algeria in 1992? — Rami G Khouri

If the US follows Israel by isolating and sanctioning Hamas and punishing the Palestinians for electing it, the potential consequences are grim: the government in Palestine could collapse and chaos might reign again; most Arabs (and people throughout the entire world) would deem the US totally unreliable and non-credible in its talk of promoting democracy

And while Temp PM Harpocrite's macho stand on Hamas may sell well to the Israel lobby in Canada, see here and here, it puts in jeporady even the miniscule developing civil society in Palestine

Cutting Aid to Palestine Could Lead to Humanitarian Emergency

Stephen Harper said Canadian aid to Palestinians is now under review, and development groups working in the region worry that any freezing or cut in aid could have a destabilizing effect.

Reem Bahdi knows exactly what a cut in aid would do to Palestine. The University of Windsor law professor directs the Judicial Independence and Human Dignity Initiative, a project that promotes the teaching and training of the Palestinian judiciary on human rights issues. "It could lead to a breakdown of law and escalating violence," says Ms. Bahdi.

In November last year the project received $4.5 million from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). This year, the training program was all set to kick off, until Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced at the start of this month that aid to Palestine will be reviewed after Hamas' election to power. Now Ms. Bahdi's project is in limbo. Last week she was informed that funding has been suspended pending a review.

"The news was deflating, but I am confident that the right decision will be made because this project is important to the long term stability in the region," she says.

The West Bank and Gaza stand to lose $25 million in annual funding from Canada, including another $37 million announced by former Prime Minister Paul Martin last year, unless Hamas renounces violence and repeals an article in its charter calling for the destruction of Israel. More than half the Palestinian population lives below the poverty line and is largely dependent on financial aid from the international community.

When Mr. Harper said earlier this month that Canadian aid to Palestine will be reviewed in the wake of Hamas' election victory, his statement echoed similar announcements made by the U.S., Britain and some major donor countries whose combined sum of aid to the Palestinians amounts to $1 billion (US) a year. Now there is concern amongst some Canadian non-governmental organizations that if the government eventually decides to cut aid, ordinary Palestinians and not Hamas, will be affected.

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