Friday, June 16, 2006

Carrot's Without The Stick

As the European Union discussed reform and Constitutional issues in Brussels this past week it also backed a plan to resume aid to the Palestinians. This is good news.

As is often the case with governments that have produced the wrath of large countries such as the United States or a larger institutional body like the United Nations or European Union; it is the citizens of that beleaguered country who suffer. This is the case with the Palestinian’s.

The EU plan provides funding for healthcare, power supplies and support for poor families, while maintaining a funding freeze on the Hamas-led government. EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin said that the European Union was considering an initial 100m euros (£86m), and wanted to have the funding mechanism operating by early July.

This is a good plan for several reasons. Tactically it can be seen as the European Union supporting the people of Palestine not the government, a group, elected in part to the public’s repudiation of Fatah corruption. Hamas of course, has refused to renounce violence or recognize Israel, and has been branded a terrorist organization by the EU and US. It is this reason then, that such a plan by the EU is also strategically sound for it puts pressure on Hamas whose ideology is seen as out of the main stream of public opinion by and large. With the poor being helped by an outside source, voices of discontent will grow and those who in the past might have been lured into the arms of Hamas now might stop and wonder why, now in government, Hamas has done nothing to alleviate their suffering.

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