While fighting terrorists with air strikes, ground troops and non-American boots on the ground is important, the US government has also made a point of highlighting the need to cut off their sources of funding. One admirable example of that in recent weeks was the bombing of oil refinement assets held by ISIS. When you cut off the cash flow, you restrict their ability to move effectively.
Somebody seems to have failed to send that particular memo to Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va), however. He’s not only out of step with the plan, he seems to be pretty proud of it.
U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D- Va., defended U.S. funding of the Palestinian Authority, despite the fact that the authority includes members of Hamas, a group the U.S. says is a terror organization.
Connolly’s remarks, at a Sept. 28 Arab American Candidates Night forum, emphasized his determination to fight House of Representatives colleagues who might block the funding.
“When there are voices calling for the defunding of the Palestinian Authority, I oppose them, publicly,” Connolly said. “In fact I signed a letter signed by Congressman David Price of North Carolina, also signed by Jim (Moran D- Va.), that said we are not going to defund the Palestinian Authority. That would guarantee an explosion in an already volatile situation. When there was a motion to close the Palestinian Authority office here in Washington or let it just be in New York, I opposed it and said it would be a terrible blow to diplomacy and not in U.S. interest let alone Palestine’s interest.”
Personally, I’ve long since given up on the idea that somebody out there has a magic silver bullet that’s going to fix the Middle East situation, and I also recognize that the world needs to find a way to communicate effectively with the Palestinian Authority. But when the PA decided to officially throw their lot in with Hamas the formula changed. It isn’t just contrary to current US policy to do business with Hamas, but it’s dangerously counterproductive to the goals of all the major players at the table.
The Obama administration has been more than willing to send diplomatic warning shots at Israel, so they should feel zero hesitation to do the same with the PA when they go off the rails like this. Cutting off funding to the PA will be viewed by some as both damaging to the peace process (if there actually is a functioning peace process anymore) and detrimental to the lives of everyday Palestinian citizens. But if it gets the PA back on track to shake themselves loose of the terrorists in their midst, it’s the sort of hard medicine that will be required if a cure is to be found.
Why Connolly is so adamant about funding the PA when they remain officially in bed with Hamas is a puzzle. This one really should be a no brainer no matter which party tag you wear.