White House Ignores Fact That ‘Unity’ Government Violates Existing Agreements
From The WSJ:
The question is whether the U.S. government will continue to fund the PA now that Mr. Abbas has cast his lot with a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization.U.S. law prohibits dispensing taxpayer money to any Palestinian entity over which Hamas exercises “undue influence.”
Previous attempts at reconciliation had failed in large part because Hamas had refused to subsume its armed wing to the PA. This time Mr. Abbas acquiesced to a partnership with a heavily armed terrorist group. The resulting relationship will likely resemble the one next door between the Lebanese government, with its negligible regular army, and the Shiite terror group Hezbollah, which like Hamas boasts an arsenal of Iranian-supplied missiles.
To hew as close as possible to the letter of U.S. law, the architects of the Hamas-backed interim government have assembled a cabinet of old PA holdovers and technocrats from Gaza with no obvious links to Hamas. The maneuver was good enough for the Obama State Department. “At this point, it appears that President Abbas has formed an interim technocratic government that does not include ministers affiliated with Hamas,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters earlier this week. “Moving forward, we will be judging this government by its actions.”
Related coverageJanuary 27, 2019 6:35 pm
But that still leaves open the question of the PA’s treaty obligations. The Oslo Accords and its progeny, including the 1998 Wye Memorandum, set very clear limits on the extent and potency of the PA arsenal. Under the Wye Memorandum, for example, the PA is required to “establish and vigorously and continuously implement a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of” illegal weapons.
Nobody should count on the aging and calculating Mr. Abbas to exercise meaningful control over Hamas’s arsenal, much less its behavior. And nobody should count on the Obama Administration to apply meaningful penalties to the PA for joining forces with Hamas and flouting its obligations toward Israel. That leaves Congress, which can block funding to the Palestinians until they prove capable of governing themselves as something other than a terrorist enterprise.
Hamas’ maintaining its terror wing, the Al Qassam Brigades, is only one of the violations of existing accords that are being flouted by this “unity government.” Here is the text of the Wye Memorandum of 1998 showing that all three of the PA’s obligations are being explicitly violated:
1. Outlawing and Combating Terrorist Organizations
The Palestinian side will make known its policy of zero tolerance for terror and violence against both sides.
A work plan developed by the Palestinian side will be shared with the U.S. and thereafter implementation will begin immediately to ensure the systematic and effective combat of terrorist organizations and their infrastructure.
In addition to the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation, a U.S.-Palestinian committee will meet biweekly to review the steps being taken to eliminate terrorist cells and the support structure that plans, finances, supplies and abets terror. In these meetings, the Palestinian side will inform the U.S. fully of the actions it has taken to outlaw all organizations (or wings of organizations, as appropriate) of a military, terrorist or violent character and their support structure and to prevent them from operating in areas under its jurisdiction.
The Palestinian side will apprehend the specific individuals suspected of perpetrating acts of violence and terror for the purpose of further investigation, and prosecution and punishment of all persons involved in acts of violence and terror.
A U.S.-Palestinian committee will meet to review and evaluate information pertinent to the decisions on prosecution, punishment or other legal measures which affect the status of individuals suspected of abetting or perpetrating acts of violence and terror.
2. Prohibiting Illegal Weapons
The Palestinian side will ensure an effective legal framework is in place to criminalize, in conformity with the prior agreements, any importation, manufacturing or unlicensed sale, acquisition or possession of firearms, ammunition or weapons in areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.
In addition, the Palestinian side will establish and vigorously and continuously implement a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of all such illegal items in accordance with the prior agreements. The U.S. has agreed to assist in carrying out this program.
A U.S.-Palestinian-Israeli committee will be established to assist and enhance cooperation in preventing the smuggling or other unauthorized introduction of weapons or explosive materials into areas under Palestinian jurisdiction.
3. Preventing Incitement
Drawing on relevant international practice and pursuant to Article XXII (1) of the Interim Agreement and the Note for the Record, the Palestinian side will issue a decree prohibiting all forms of incitement to violence or terror, and establishing mechanisms for acting systematically against all expressions or threats of violence or terror. This decree will be comparable to the existing Israeli legislation which deals with the same subject.
A U.S.- Palestinian-Israeli committee will meet on a regular basis to monitor cases of possible incitement to violence or terror and to make recommendations and reports on how to prevent such incitement. The Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. sides will each appoint a media specialist, a law enforcement representative, an educational specialist and a current or former elected official to the committee.:
Not only is allowing Hamas to maintain its own terror wing a violation of these accords (as has been the allowance of Fatah’s Al Aqsa Brigades,) but also the PA must now act to make Islamic Jihad and other armed terrorist groups illegal.
Yet even before this agreement the PA has allowed armed groups to roam around the West Bank, in explicit violation of these signed agreements.
And the White House and State Department allowed that without a peep.
As I’ve noted before, there is no difference between Hamas and Fatah – both maintain armed terror wings in violation of agreements. The only difference is that Fatah lies about it.
The “unity agreement” makes it harder for the Obama administration to publicly ignore its role in allowing the PLO to steamroll its commitments, but make no mistake – it knows quite well about these violations and has willfully ignored them for years. The :unity government” just adds a new layer of illegality over Washington’s existing willful blindness and coddling of the PLO.
Will Congress step in and uphold U.S. law?