- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Europeans fooled us this time. The skeptics who said the Europeans wouldn’t live up to their brave words about “no deals” with Hamas were wrong.

European resolve lasted a full four days. Representatives of the “Quartet,” comprising the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union, met yesterday in London to talk about what to do about the terrorists who are taking over what passes for a Palestinian government, and not even Condi Rice can paper over the emerging cracks in the “united resolve.”

The Quartet, led by Miss Rice, wants to leave the impression that Hamas can huff, puff and blow everybody’s house down, but the terrorists won’t get any more money from the civilized countries until they quit killing women and children, recognize the existence of Israel, and pay allegiance to the imaginary “road map” that leads through happy valley and past still waters, where lions gambol with lambs, to that fictitious place where the table is set with “peace.”

We can forgive a diplomat as dishy as Condi the soapy language that diplomats speak. “It is incumbent now,” she says, “for all to insist that any future Palestinian government will live up to these obligations.”

Well, yes, we should do that. For their part, the Palestinians are blunt and to the point, willing to use the English language at its plainest. “We call on you to transfer all aid to the Palestinian treasury,” Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas capo, told a press conference yesterday in Gaza. “We assure you that all the revenues will be spent on salaries, daily life and infrastructure.” Hamas understands that money is fungible, and can be transferred from pocket to pocket. (Violence is fungible, too. Death assignments can be farmed out to Islamic Jihad and other noble Islamist religious organizations.)

Never has the conditional had such a workout. Kofi Annan, ever eager to make excuses for the world’s bad guys, says future aid to the Palestinians “would be reviewed by donors against that government’s commitment to renounce violence.” The external affairs commissioner for the European Union warns that “a precipitous cutoff of aid” could bring down the Palestinian Authority. The foreign minister of Austria, which is the current rotating head of the EU, boasts that her government has already urged Hamas to be nice and “respect Israel’s right to exist,” and the EU is “ready to continue to support Palestinian economic development and democratic state building.” Could, would, maybe. If we can’t have peace, we can have a lot of “reviews.” Talk is action, and cheaper, too.

All this dirty dancing is not necessary. Over the past decade, the United States alone has given the Palestinians $1.5 billion in aid, and a lot of it went to terrorists who now insist they not be “dissed” just because they blow up schools and dismember Jewish children for sport. The Group of 8 — the largest and most important of the civilized countries — have promised to contribute another $9 billion over the next two years. Hamas “threatens” to get the aid from the Arab countries if the Western spigot is closed. The Arab countries are exactly the places the Palestinians should be getting the money from, but even Hamas understands that Christian charity is reliable and generous, and Allah’s is usually not.

So here’s what the civilized countries should say: “Given who you are, you don’t deserve a sou. You have killed thousands of innocents and not only have no shame, but boast of demonstrating your manly prowess by killing children. Since no one believes anything you say, renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist by eliminating, immediately, the promise in the Palestinian constitution to destroy Israel. Make a public renunciation of suicide bombing, imprison everyone who encourages a suicide bomber. Put down your guns, and get a life. Reform your schools, eliminate textbooks with hateful references to Christians and Jews. Tell your teachers and imams to shape up or ship out. Do these things, and we’ll decide when we think you’re sincere.”

But the terrorists of Hamas, who are barbaric and cruel, are not stupid. They know that “European resolve,” like “guest host” and “rock music,” is an oxymoron. The heroic rhetoric of Thursday has dissolved already into squish and soap, and it’s only Tuesday.

Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Times.

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