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Will the EU Ultimately Fund Hamas?

The European Union, the Palestinian Authority’s largest single donor, sent a team to monitor last week’s Palestinian election. Now, the leader of that team hasbegun the call for the EU to remove Hamas from the EU Terrorist Organization List, suggesting that the EU change Hamas’ officially recognized status when they meet next in Brussels.

Britain’s Minister to the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott puts forth the prevailing logic, which hinges on three essential points.

1. Hamas is now the duly elected governing body of the Palestinian Territories.

2. Hamas has largely adhered to a cease fire with Israel for months and should be rewarded.

3. Hezbollah is not on the list, neither should Hamas be.

This approach, if it is warmly received, is troubling as well as problematic in its logic. The logic necessary should be self-evident.

Hezbollah’s absence from the EU Terror List is the error, not Hamas’ inclusion. Second, months of cease fire observation is not rehabilitation, especially short of a change in the founding charter renouncing and abolishing terrorist attacks on civilians as an accepted and practiced tactic and strategy. Further, the definition of a terrorist organization pays no mind to public popularity and, hence, makes no mention of an ‘election exemption’.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice clearly understands this, offering clarity on the issue on her way to London to meet with UN, EU and Russian leaders on the issue. On whether or not the EU and others should forgo Hamas’ terrorist foundation, she said, “The bedrock principle here is we can’t have funding for an organization that holds those views just because it is in government…It is important that Hamas will now have to confront the implications of its covenant if it wishes to govern. And so that becomes a primary consideration in everything that we [US, UN, EU, Russia participants] do.”

In the mind of Britain’s Minister to the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott and those who think like him, the past months of cease fire observation and an election of popular Palestinian opinion absolve Hamas of the ‘implications of its covenant’ to destroy Israel and employ terror attacks on civilians.

MEP McMillan-Scott and the EU election monitors ddo not hold a monopoly on Eurpean thinking, as several key European leaders have spoken in an opposite tone, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said while visiting Israel, “Such a Palestinian Authority cannot be directly supported by money from the EU.

Said British Prime Minister Tony Blair, “But I think it is also important for Hamas to understand that there comes a point, and that point is now following that strong showing, where they have to decide between a path of democracy or a path of violence.”

Prime Minister Blair’s Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, offered, “Hamas has to understand that with democracy goes renunciation of violence. It is up to Hamas to choose. We will have to wait and see, the international community will want Hamas to make a proper rejection of violence and to acknowledge that Israel exists.”

While not addressing the problem of an elected Hamas government, French President Jacques Chirac displayed a resolute demeanor not seen from France in recent memory when he responded to the suggestion of a WMD attack by Iran when he said, “The leaders of states who might resort to terrorist means against us, and those who might envision using arms of mass destruction, must understand that they would be exposed to a firm and adapted response on our part.” Chirac’s reference to the use of French nuclear weapons was quite thinly veiled, as he made the statements while visiting a French nuclear base.

In July 2005, Chirac said directly that Hamas cannot be recognized as it exists today, when he said, “Hamas is a terrorist organization that cannot be an interlocutor of the international community so long as it does not renounce violence and does not recognize Israel’s right to exist. This is the unambiguous position of the EU and it will not change.”

We shall see if this is still the ‘unambiguous position of the EU’ that will not change.

Feedback

What a horrific mistake the EU makes.

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While it is not written in stone that the EU will fund a Hamas-led PA, the absence of language stating that they are preparing to cut off funding (save for Germany's Merkel) rather than planning on 'reviewing' funding leaves much room for those in the EU who wish to stick their finger in America's eye to do just that.

A Bill is being introduced to Congress (and expected to find easy passage) that explicitly orders the cuts in funding. There is no such explicit call in any of the EU bodies.

Maybe one day Europe's leaders will ercognize that in today's world and security environment, nuance is grossly overrated and often mischaracterized as leadership.

But, that day is certainly not today.