US To Give $900 Million To Hamas (via Gaza)…
Ok, let me rephrase. We are going to give $900 million to an area which is totally controlled by an organization which is committed to wiping Israel off of the face of the earth?I guess it was to be expected, afterall, Gaza was a hotbed of Obama support…
Either way, help, my country has been hijacked… AP
The United States plans to offer more than $900 million to help rebuild Gaza after Israel’s invasion and to strengthen the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, U.S. officials said on Monday.
The money, which needs U.S. congressional approval, will be distributed through U.N. and other bodies and not via the , which rules Gaza, said one official.
“This money is for Gaza and to help strengthen the Palestinian Authority. It is not going to go to Hamas,” said the official, who asked not to be named as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton planned to announce the funding at a donors’ conference in Egypt next week.
Neither the United States nor Israel have direct contact with the Hamas movement which runs Gaza and remains formally committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.
The official said the pledge was a mix of money already earmarked for the Palestinians and some new funding.
“The package is still shaping up,” he said, when asked for specifics over how the money would be spent and a breakdown of old and new funding.
In December, the former Bush administration said it would give $85 million to the U.N. agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The March 2 donors’ conference in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort aims to raise humanitarian and rebuilding funds for Gaza after Israel’s invasion last December to suppress rocket fire against its cities.
Preliminary estimates put damage from the offensive, in which 1,300 Palestinians died, at nearly $2 billion.
Clinton’s bid to get “substantial” funds could face an uphill battle in Congress because Hamas continues to rule Gaza and the U.S. focus is on its own souring economy.
U.S. to Give $900 Million in Gaza Aid, Officials Say
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration intends to provide some $900 million to help rebuild Gaza after the Israeli incursion that ended last month, administration officials said Monday.
In an early sign of how the administration plans to deal with Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls Gaza, an official said that the aid would not go to Hamas but that it would be funneled through nongovernmental organizations.
By seeking to aid Gazans but not Hamas, the administration is following the lead of the Bush administration, which sent money to Gaza through nongovernmental organizations. In December, it said it would give $85 million to the United Nations agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.
The United States considers Hamas a terrorist organization, and the Bush administration refused to have any formal dealings with the group.
The aid will include new spending as well as money already set aside for the Palestinian Authority, and it will be formally announced next week when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton travels to a Palestinian donors’ conference in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, the officials said.
The aid, first reported by Reuters, would have to be approved by Congress, where many lawmakers are skittish about even appearing to help Hamas until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel’s right to exist.
“None of the money will go to Hamas, it will be funneled through NGOs and U.N. groups,” said an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the aid before Mrs. Clinton announced it.
The donors’ conference in Egypt is seeking to raise close to $2 billion to rebuild Gaza, which was devastated by the three-week war with Israel. Some of the $900 million from the United States will go to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, officials said.
But even if the bulk of the money goes to Gaza, it will do little good unless Israel first opens the border crossing into the territory, said Daniel Levy, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, a research organization in Washington.
“It’s a good effort, but the money can’t be spent unless materials can get into Gaza,” Mr. Levy said. “The next step is opening the border crossings, and that requires more than just signing a check.”
Hamas has demanded the opening of the crossings as part of truce negotiations being conducted through Egypt. Israel, which imposed an embargo after Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007, demands an end to rocket fire from Gaza, a halt to weapons smuggling and the release of a captive Israeli soldier.
After the donors’ conference in Egypt, Mrs. Clinton will make her first trip to Israel as secretary of state, Israeli officials said. She is expected to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister-designate.
Mrs. Clinton is also expected to travel to Ramallah in the West Bank for meetings with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Salam Fayyad, the prime minister, whose Fatah organization is the principal rival to Hamas. Administration officials said it was unlikely that Mrs. Clinton would go to Hamas-controlled Gaza.
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