Netanyahu: We transfer cash to Hamas because it divides Palestinians, prevents statehood.

With the Israeli elections around the corner, the hits just keep on coming. In today’s edition:

The prime minister also said that, “whoever is against a Palestinian state should be for” transferring the funds to Gaza, because maintaining a separation between the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza helps prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. […]

The Blue and White Party’s platform calls to stop allowing the transfer of funds to Hamas, calling it mafia-style “protection” payments.

Sort of undercuts the Israeli propaganda that they “do not have a partner for peace” doesn’t it? To be clear, the funds being discussed here are tax/customs duties collected by Israel on behalf of the PA and aid from third countries primarily Qatar.

None of this comes as a surprise to long-time Israel watchers. It is merely another example of someone in Trump’s orbit saying the quiet part out loud. Fomenting division has always been a primary goal of Israeli policy towards Palestinians. That is part of the reason Israeli intelligence agencies helped Hamas in its early stages:

The PLO was known for being a Socialist organization whose sole purpose was the elimination of the state of Israel along with the establishment of a socialist state of Palestine where the constitution would be run by secular Marxism rather than Islam

Due to the short sidedness of the Rabin administration and later Begin there was an idea to bring about a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood into Gaza and the Palestinian territories to counter balance the strength and popularity of the PLO. […]

According to The Interceptor, ” Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Segev, who was the Israeli military governor in Gaza in the early 1980s. Segev later told a New York Times reporter that he had helped finance the Palestinian Islamist movement as a “counterweight” to the secularists and leftists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Fatah party, led by Yasser Arafat (who himself referred to Hamas as “a creature of Israel.”).” —…

There is of course, a political purpose to Netanyahu’s statement. He wants to fend off criticism from politicians on both the left and right that sending funds to Hamas supports terrorism. Of course, the folks making those critiques are merely putting on a show. They know all too well how useful Hamas is to limiting sympathy towards Palestinians and muddying the waters around Israeli human rights violations. Netanyahu didn’t say the quiet part aloud for them, he said it for voters who need to be reminded by they should vote for Likud.

Voters who need reminding that Likud will go to every length possible to prevent Palestinian self-determination and facilitate the annexation of the West Bank. Annexation has been Likud’s goal since the moment it was founded. That is why, for instance Likud’s co-founder Menachem Begin allied with the Christian Zionist movement:

Of all the Israeli prime ministers since 1948, Begin stands out as the first to openly endorse Christian Zionist support and to seek to harness it in defence of the Jewish state. Others before him may have had connections to individual Christian figures, but the story of the Israel-Evangelical partnership as we know it today starts with Begin. […]

First, Begin realised that he shared a certain biblical worldview with Evangelicals. Dr. Gordis noted that Begin looked on the Bible as Israel’s title deed to the land and saw the Jewish return as fulfilment of the vision of the Hebrew prophets, just as many Christians did.

Second, Begin was surrounded by several close advisors who shared his friendly disposition towards pro-Israel Christians. This included Harry Hurwitz, who had been exposed to genuine Christian supporters of Israel in his native South Africa and was the key official within Begin’s inner circle who convinced him to approve the founding of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem in 1980. —…

For more inside the Israeli elections, read this on the election commission’s decision to ban an Arab party ahead of this election. Meanwhile, they’ve approved the extremist right-wing “Jewish Power” party, which has allied with Netanyahu.

As he bans his opponents from competing in the elections, Netanyahu and his supporters keep insisting Israel is a democracy. 

“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” — George Orwell, 1984

— @subirgrewal