Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to give up hundreds of millions of dollars of US aid if that is what is necessary to forge a reconciliation deal with Hamas, the Associated Press quoted his adviser as saying on Monday.What Ahmed is saying is that the Palestinian Authority would not be pretending to be moderate if it wasn't for American money - they would happily go publicly closer towards Hamas' extremism in the interests of "unity."
Azzam Ahmed stated that "the Palestinians need American money, but if they use it as a way of pressuring us, we are ready to relinquish that aid."
Abbas' condemnations of terror - as Arafat's before him - have never been sincere. They are part of the deal, the facade they must maintain in order to continue to get US and EU aid. If they were left to their own devices, the PA would cheer today's terrorist attacks in exactly the same way they cheer yesterday's attacks, naming institutions in honor of bloodthirsty murderers. Is there any moral difference between Samir Kuntar's bashing in the skull of a four year old girl and the vicious stabbing of the Fogel children? Yet Kuntar is a hero, a person that Abbas specifically went out of his way to meet in Lebanon.
If the PLO and PA need to be bribed to act like peaceful human beings, then what more do you need to realize that any peace agreement with them would be a sham? Perhaps one can argue that an artificial peace meant to pacify the West is better than none, but it is not a peace that Israel should be forced to give tangible concessions for.
In other words, a sham peace by the PLO must be reciprocated with a similar peace from Israel: a detente where there is no shooting but where Israel does not give anything permanent upin exchange for mere words.
So President Obama should call Abbas' bluff. Cut off the funds and see how peaceful he acts. If he immediately goes to Iran via Hamas to make up his budget shortfall, then the US will know exactly how pro-West the PA really is. And the true obstacle to peace will be revealed to the world.
(h/t David G)
UPDATE: See also Khaled Abu Toameh on a similar theme.