Sometimes terror doesn't have to pay. Reports last week that Fatah Prime Minister Salaam Fayad had paid the annual salaries of members of Hamas's army in Gaza caused US Congressman Eric Cantor to shoot off a livid letter to Fayad.
Cantor, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, had just returned from leading a Republican Congressional delegation to Israel and the Palestinian Authority where he met with Fayad in Ramallah. He wrote: "Without further explanation from you, I will feel compelled… to forewarn my colleagues in the Congress that any visits with your government offer little value toward bringing peace and security to Palestinians and Israelis. Furthermore, I will help lead opposition in Congress to any proposed call for additional US taxpayer dollars being sent to the Palestinian Authority."
Cantor has good reason as an American to be angry at Fayad. Hamas forces in Gaza, which are trained and commanded by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, constitute a key member of the axis of global jihad against which the US is fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world. By strengthening Hamas, Fayad is not simply harming Israel. He is acting in a manner that strengthens the axis as a whole. And so he is harming US national security interests.
In defending his move, Fayad initially claimed that the payment was a regrettable error caused by a computer glitch. In his updated story, Fayad claimed that a Hamas agent in his Ministry of Finance was responsible for the move.
Fayad's excuses naturally raise the question: If Fatah opposes Hamas, why are all the names and bank account numbers of Hamas's soldiers conveniently located in Fatah's Ministry of Finance's computer files? Aside from that, it is hard to believe that Fayad objected to paying the jihad forces. Since Hamas took over Gaza in June, Fayad has regularly paid the salaries of Hamas legislators, civil servants in Hamas's government, and Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails.
Moreover, Fayad's assertions that Fatah opposes Hamas are hardly believable given that Fatah is engaged in intense negotiations with Hamas toward a reunification of their forces. Wednesday, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas stated openly that he seeks to reconcile with Hamas. In his joint press briefing with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, Abbas called for a "return to national unity." He said, "The split [between Judea and Samaria and Gaza which happened] as a result of Hamas's coup is temporary and will be removed."
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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