Olmert Zigs and Zags on Hamas

Michael Freund,

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Michael Freund
Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....

With breathtaking speed, Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has once again backtracked on his own policy towards Hamas, leaving heads spinning in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Washington.

Just days after Israeli officials began talking about imposing an “economic siege” on the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA), the Government has now apparently decided to permit international funding to reach the PA.

This flip-flop follows shortly on the heels of Olmert’s previous zig-zag regarding aid to Hamas. Shortly after the terrorist group won last month’s Palestinian elections, Israel said it would not transfer any more money to the PA, but then Olmert changed his mind last week and approved the handover of 240 million shekels in taxes and customs duties.

Even more ridiculous is the argument being put forth by Israeli officials to justify the continued flow of international aid to the newest rogue state in the Middle East.

The goal, unnamed Israeli Foreign Ministry officials told Yediot Aharonot, is to prevent Iranian and Islamist funding of the PA.


Unless Hamas’ bank account has a limit on accepting donations, just how exactly will permitting international aid preclude the Iranians and Islamists from continuing to support their terrorist friends in Gaza?

Moreover – the Government’s position makes no sense. It is almost like saying that one should buy drugs from a dealer just so someone else won’t do it, as though that will stop the dealer from continuing with his crimes.

It’s bad enough that Olmert continues to bounce back and forth from one policy to another on this issue. But frankly what is even more troubling is that he doesn’t seem to have a clue as to what he is trying to achieve.