Gaza: Millions for Kalashnikovs, Not a Penny for Economic Development
In Gaza, nearly everything is scarce: Jobs, food, electricity, natural gas. Everything but armed militia toting Kalashnikov assault rifles. The Palestinian Authority's security forces already number around 80,000 men. In Gaza, there is nearly always a cop around when you need one. The problem is, the person shaking down a storeowner or robbing some poor soul on the street is probably the cop, i.e., a member of the Palestinian security forces. The only hope for the crime victim is that a member of one of the rival militias will intervene and shoot at the criminal, but in the undisciplined firefight that follows the crime victim will probably be shot as well, so the hope is illusory. Life in Gaza resembles what South Central Los Angeles would be like if the LAPD withdrew and left it to the Crips and Bloods to maintain security.
So naturally, to address the prevailing anarchy, the Hamas-led government has decided to create--another armed militia. Over the veto of titular Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whose loyalty belongs to Fatah, Hamas has organized a 3000-man militia, as reported in today's Los Angeles Times.
For weeks now the tender-hearted people of the world have been weeping copiously over the fact that, as a result of the election of a Hamas government, which refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, the U.S., Israel and the European Union have cut off the flow of foreign cash that sustains the Palestinian Authority. Since pratically the only jobs available in Gaza involve working for the Palestinian Authority, which is supposedly now bankrupt and has not paid its employees in months, scarcity and hardship prevail. The usual suspects in the MSM, especially National Public Radio, fill the airwaves and newsprint with stories of the suffering that the Palestinians are undergoing at the hands of the Americans, the Israelis and the Europeans, who are not respecting the democratic choice of the Palestinian people.
And yet, when Hamas decides that the situation calls for another, 3000-person militia, it is able to field a well-armed, uniformed militia quite literally overnight. Note the two photos that preceded this post. On the right are members of Force 17, a militia loyal to Fatah. On the left are members of the new Hamas-organized militia. Every member sports an assault rifle and a snazzy uniform. The militias seem to be well-equipped with vehicles. Presumably, these young men are drawing a salary as well. Apparently, when it comes to arming militia, money is not so scarce.
If the reader is puzzled as to the solution to this conumdrum, one might look to this story published yesterday by UPI. We are shocked, shocked, to learn that Yassir Arafat spent millions of dollars of international aid funds, intended for humanitarian assistance, on weapons.
"Millions for defense, not a penny for tribute," was the rallying cry of the United States during the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson, when it dispatched its infant Navy and Marine Corps against the Tripoli pirates who were raiding American shipping for ransom. Apparently, "Millions for Kalashnikovs, not a penny for economic development," was the secret motto of Yassir Arafat, and continues to be the mission statement of Hamas, Fatah and the whole Palestinian Authority. The solution is not to channel funds to the Palestinians through non-governmental organizations, as the U.S., U.N., Europeans and Israel recently agreed to do. The solution is to continue to withhold funds until the Palestinians are compelled to sell their weapons, dissolve their militias and use international aid for the humanitarian assistance and economic development for which it was intended.