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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Iyar 4, 5766, 5/2/2006

      Look Who's Funding Terror Now...

      In a decision as obtuse as it was inexplicable, Israel’s cabinet today decided to transfer hundreds of millions of shekels in customs and tax revenues to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA).

      Womansigningcheckimage The funds will allow Hamas to pay the January salaries of the PA’s 135,000 employees, thereby forestalling the PA’s economic collapse.

      One of the reasons given for the decision is that Israel is obligated by agreements signed with the Palestinians to transfer the funds.

      Of course, Hamas itself has never recognized those agreements nor agreed to live by them – but why should that stop Israel from bankrolling its avowed enemies?

      It is simply mind-boggling that Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would agree to fill the coffers of the PA at a time when it is being taken over by the masterminds of anti-Israel suicide terror.

      After all, there is no way of knowing where those funds will end up, as the PA hardly has a stellar track record when it comes to financial transparency and accountability. Who is to say that the 240 million shekels being handed over won’t go – at least in part – to fund still further attacks against the Jewish state?

      Moreover, such a step only serves to undermine the case that Israel has been trying to make in recent weeks both to Washington and Europe. After pushing the international community to isolate the newly-elected Hamas regime, how can Israel now justify keeping such a regime afloat?

      If Olmert has a clear policy on how to deal with Hamas, he is doing quite a good job of keeping it a well-guarded secret.