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WSJ: Without Disarming Hamas, PA Violating 2 Decades of Treaties

The Wall Street Journal late Wednesday criticized the Obama administration for agreeing to fund the recently announced Palestinian unity government – agreed to by the rival Fatah and Hamas factions, and unveiled earlier this week – with the outlet pointing out that the new cabinet’s refusal to dismantle Hamas’s military infrastructure was difficult to square with White House assurances that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is living up to past treaties signed with Israel:

The question is whether the U.S. government will continue to fund the PA now that Mr. Abbas has cast his lot with a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization. U.S. law prohibits dispensing taxpayer money to any Palestinian entity over which Hamas exercises “undue influence.”

Hamas has at least 10,000 fighters and maintains an arsenal of thousands of missiles and rockets, all of which are explicitly prohibited [PDF] by the 1995 Oslo II Accords.

The Journal noted that the subsequent 1998 Wye Memorandum went even further:

But that still leaves open the question of the PA’s treaty obligations. The Oslo Accords and its progeny, including the 1998 Wye Memorandum, set very clear limits on the extent and potency of the PA arsenal. Under the Wye Memorandum, for example, the PA is required to “establish and vigorously and continuously implement a systematic program for the collection and appropriate handling of” illegal weapons.

The unity pact between Fatah and Hamas forgoes any efforts to take control of Hamas’s illegal forces and weapons, potentially running afoul of blackletter U.S. legislation conditioning American assistance on the PA fulfilling previously signed agreements.

Top administration officials have been publicly saying that they intend to watch the new government “very closely… to absolutely ensure that it upholds each of those things it has talked about” and privately complaining that the Israelis are being hypocritical because Jerusalem is continuing to cooperate with Palestinian security forces.

It is not clear how either of those responses could address what seems to be a straightforward violation of multiple core commitments, any and all of which the PA is treaty-bound to implement lest it risk losing U.S. aid.

[Photo: Associated Press / YouTube]