Must be some of that compassionate conservatism stuff.
U.S., Allies Agree to Palestinian Aid
ABC News - The United States bowed to pressure from its allies Tuesday and agreed to support a new program to temporarily funnel additional aid directly to the Palestinian people.
A surprise statement by Mideast peacemakers, issued after a day of closed-door diplomatic meetings, did not say precisely how much or what kind of aid they would provide. But the agreement seemed to underscore a concern that months of withholding most aid from the Palestinians, part of an effort to pressure the new Hamas-led government toward a more accommodating stance with Israel, was harming the Palestinian people.
The new fund represents a slight softening of the hard U.S. line against financial engagement with Hamas, the militant Islamic group that has conducted numerous terrorist attacks. The United States, the European Union and Israel list Hamas as a terrorist organization.
The United States and European Union have cut off direct aid to the Palestinian government while pledging to help meet the crushing humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people through charities and other means.
Israel has also refused to transfer $55 million in monthly tax revenues it collects for the Palestinian Authority.
Overseas donations, mostly from Europe, have long sustained the cash-strapped and bloated Palestinian government.
The new fund is supposed to administer only money for basic human needs. But both European and U.S. diplomats said that at some point it might be used to pay salaries for urgently needed doctors or teachers or for other services that the Hamas government otherwise would be expected to provide.
Hamas won election in part because of a record of providing services that the previous secular Fatah leadership did not.
The aid cutoff has left the Palestinian government virtually broke and increasingly unable to provide basic services.
Some 165,000 government workers, whose incomes had supported one-third of Palestinian families, have not been paid for the past two months, and the World Bank warned this week of an impending crisis.
Frustrations rose to the surface over the weekend, when hundreds of Palestinians staged strikes and demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza to demand payment, the first public signs of discontent with Hamas' handling of the situation.
European governments in particular have been alarmed at the worsening plight for unemployed Palestinians and concerned that charities and U.N. agencies could not meet the demand for services or handle the amount of money that might be needed, diplomats said.
They pressed the United States to agree to the new humanitarian fund, even though that kind of assistance may be an indirect benefit to Hamas. The United States agreed on condition the fund be temporary and limited to programs that meet basic needs, a senior State Department official said
"It would be against our values to let people starve," said Marc Otte, the EU's special envoy for the Mideast.
Remember all them tough sounding sound bites we heard from our "leaders" when Hamas won?
What happened to all that?
I thought their Arab brothers were gonna share some of that petro-wealth with them anyway.
Maybe some of our money will go for cleaning up the Palestinian streets, so they can have more room to celebrate and dance the next time America is attacked.