Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

The EU's new Palestinian dilemma

European Voice - February 6th 2006

Sir

To say that the electoral success of Hamas in the Palestinian territories has presented the EU with a thorny dilemma would appear to be an understatement (The EU's new Palestinian dilemma, last week). But the navel-gazing and bewilderment in Brussels at Hamas' victory is more than a little melodramatic.

The EU, by its reluctance to confront rampant corruption in the Palestinian Authority - indeed, by its tacit encouragement of the enrichment of the Palestinian elite - has helped create this problem largely by itself. The political emergence of Hamas should not have come as a surprise.

To compromise Europe's traditionally robust response to terrorism by accepting Hamas as a legitimate interlocutor now would be to store up yet more trouble for the EU in the future. It would be a sign to terrorists and extremists everywhere that the EU is a soft touch.

We would be showing that we have learned absolutely nothing if we sent so much as a penny to a Palestinian Authority led by an unreformed Hamas. Yours faithfully,

Dr Charles Tannock MEP
Conservative foreign affairs spokesman
Vice-chairman of the subcommittee on human rights