The Washington Post’s David Ignatius reveals the outline of the cease-fire plan Kerry is pushing for Israel and Hamas.
The thrust of Kerry’s new plan is to leverage Hamas’s unity pact with Fatah and its pledge to transfer authority in Gaza to the authority. As a first step, the Palestinian Authority and its U.S.-trained security service would assume responsibility for policing the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt, as well as the passages into Israel. That’s a big deal, as it would give Abbas’s security chief, Majid Faraj, control over the most strategic ground in Gaza.
The authority would begin paying the salaries of Palestinian civil servants in Gaza, assuming that the details could be worked out. The agreement might also move toward disarmament of all terrorist groups in Gaza by building on a promise Hamas made in a 2011 unity plan that the Palestinian Authority’s security service would be the only armed force in Gaza. This would also uphold Abbas’s insistence on “one government, one law, one gun.”
In all these ways, Kerry is now headed in the right direction — away from strengthening Hamas and toward empowering the moderates on whom hopes for a more stable and secure Gaza depend.
There is a lot of ambiguity in here. As far as we know there are no provisions to disarm Hamas. We don’t know who will end up being Palestinian “civil servants,” but Hamas gunmen is a good guess as Hamas, not the Palestinian Authority, controls Gaza. What we do know is that the agreement will violate two treaties and federal law.
Under the 1995 “Oslo 2” treaty, the weapons allowed in Gaza are limited:
c. In the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Police will possess the following arms and equipment:
1. 7,000 light personal weapons;
2. up to 120 machine guns of 0.3″ or 0.5″ caliber; and
3. up to 45 wheeled armored vehicles of a type to be agreed on between the two sides, and of which 22 will be deployed in protecting Council installations. The use of wheeled armored vehicles in the Security Perimeter, on the Lateral Roads and on their adjacent sides, or in the vicinity of the Settlements shall be approved through the relevant DCO. Movement of such vehicles along the central North-South road (Road No. 4) in the Gaza Strip may take place only after providing notification to the relevant DCO.
and all weapons must be listed in a register in the possession of the Palestinian police. Note that RPGs, explosives, and Iranian rockets are not permitted.
Similarly, the 1998 Wye River Accords requires the Palestinian Authority to seize all illegal weapons in Gaza and the West Bank and they must provide to the Israelis with a list of all PA policemen. What do we think the odds of the PA disarming Hamas are? If they don’t then all funding to the PA from the US, about $500 million annually, is illegal… as it has been. But this time around the Congress seems less likely to wink at the blatantly illegal funding of Hamas via the PA, Hamas is a listed terrorist organization, or Kerry’s assertion that this will “lead to the disarmament of Hamas.” NY Representative Nita Lowey is one of the most influential voices in the House on the subject and she is adamant that this course of action will result in no funding:
Lowey’s personal and legislative feelings have been made abundantly clear. “At this point, the law is clear, their actions are clear, and the path forward is clear,” Rep. Nita Lowey told the JTA news service immediately after news of the Hamas union became known in late April. Monday, June 2, after the unification ceremony finished in Ramallah, Lowey issued this short warning: “I am deeply disappointed with the announcement today of a Palestinian government that includes the terrorist organization Hamas. As long as Hamas rejects the Quartet principles and the existence of the State of Israel, United States funding for this unity government is in jeopardy.”
Early June 4, 2014, a source close to Lowey confirmed her feelings remain unchanged, Indeed, within 10 seconds of asking, he emailed this reporter the relevant section of one of several key legal bars to continuedfunding. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, in Section 7020, Subsection F, entitled Prohibition to Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization, unambiguously declares: “None of the funds appropriated … may be obligated or expended for assistance to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”
and she isn’t alone
House lawmakers are currently pushing a resolution to classify the newly formed Palestinian unity government as a foreign terrorist organization and cut off U.S. aid following the formation of a new ruling body that includes the terror group Hamas, according to a copy of the draft resolution obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The new resolution, sponsored by Reps. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) and Trent Franks (R., Ariz.), calls on the State Department to designate the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its new Hamas-backed unity government as a terrorist organization. The resolution is expected to be introduced Monday.
It additionally calls for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) to be reclassified as a terror group and for the U.S. government to fully cut aid to the Palestinians, who have received around $5 billion in bilateral assistance since the 1990s.
“The Palestinian Authority has shown its true colors by forming a unity government with the terrorist organization Hamas,” Bachmann told the Free Beacon. “This nightmare scenario for the peace process means that Congress must reassert its constitutional authority and suspend foreign aid to the PA. We cannot continue to assist our enemies at the expense of our ally, Israel.”
U.S. lawmakers and Israeli officials have expressed shock in recent days that the Obama administration is willing to work with the new Palestinian unity government, which united the ruling Fatah party with the Hamas terrorist group that runs the Gaza Strip.
As embracing the destruction of an ally, lack of critical thinking, and general lawlessness are the hallmarks of this administration we shouldn’t be surprised that Kerry is advocating a solution that advocates all three.