So, donors have pledged no less than $4.5bn for Gaza, but have stipulated that none of the money may go to Hamas.
Wait a second...how is that supposed to work?
It's along the same line of thought that an elderly aunt uses to give money to her niece, but stipulates that the awful husband her niece married can't profit from that money.
How naive. Of course that niece will take the money and her husband will benefit: the idea that you can stipulate a non-benefit from someone in the household is absurd. If the niece buys a flatscreen TV, will the husband not be permitted to watch? If the niece buys a new house, will the husband not profit from that? Duhhhh.
According to the news reports, this money will be given to the Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, with safeguards to ensure that Hamas doesn't get any of the money.
Fundamentally, it goes further than that: it stipulates that no money may be spent until Hamas is no longer in control of Gaza. And where, you might ask, is the mechanism where Hamas is no longer in control of Gaza?
There is none.
This is naive at best and downright subversive at worst.
Consider this: Hamas, for all its problems, did win the election. It did so because of disgust with the corruption of the PA - and giving them $4.5bn just ensures that the PA will continue to be corrupt - and because of the extreme frustration of the Gaza population with the incompetence of the PA in getting services to actually work, as well as making progress with coming to an understanding with Israel that could actually work. Of course Hamas made sure that the PA in Gaza couldn't work out a deal: anyone recommending one was intimidated into silence or killed. The PA isn't blameless here: if anything, the opposite. Hamas would never have had the success that it has had, especially access to Iranian money, if the PA weren't so venally corrupt and, as a result, pathetically incompetent.
But the only real way forward is for Hamas to be defeated at the polls, defeated in such a way that the Palestinians in Gaza show a clear commitment to an actual peace settlement. I don't recommend investing in that argument, since it simply isn't going to happen as long as the Hamas are less corrupt than the PA.
So what is the point of doing this for the donors?
Zilch. There is no point.
This is nothing less than political grandstanding of the finest: everyone can now pat themselves on the back and say that they've done their job, the money is there, and we're not going to aid Hamas. Style and appearance over substance, but I wouldn't expect anything else from Hillary and the political pundits of the Democratic Party.
In reality, the donors are ensuring that the PA remains corrupt and hence not a challenge to Hamas; they're ensuring that the Palestinian civil war will continue; they're ensuring more years of ignorance, deprivation and poverty; in other words, they're ensuring that nothing will change.
In a related note, the Israelis are upping the pressure: plans to build another 70 000 housing units on the West Bank, adding another 300 000 Israelis living there. Strategically the Israelis are upping the ante, making the establishment of an independent Palestinian state more and more difficult.
So where to go from here? Hamas exists only to destroy Israel and ensure that the Palestinians live under their thumb as human shields; the PA is corrupt and incompetent (otherwise Hamas couldn't have dealt them quite the blows that they did in Gaza); the West and the Arab states, at the end of the day, couldn't care less what happens to the people living in Gaza; Israel is taking the strategic advantage and improving its position; in the meantime, nothing happens.
Well, that's quite a recipe for success.