Hamas has successfully transformed itself from a fringe terrorist group into a powerful military machine thanks largely to the generous financial aid the United States has given to the Palestinians, according to one of the group's co-founders.
“Two years ago, one bullet in Gaza cost around $4 - now it would cost 35 cents. The American aid money has been translated into weapons. Thank you, America!” said former Palestinian Authority foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar in an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel.
Despite imposing a crushing economic embargo on direct aid to the Palestinian Authority since Hamas' electoral victory last year, America and Europe have continued pour funds into humanitarian operations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza at an unprecedented rate. Zahar is not the first Palestinian official to admit the bulk of that money is used for guns, not bread.
On top of that, Hamas took possession of a massive cache of US-supplied arms when it defeated its rivals in Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah-aligned security forces two weeks ago in Gaza. The Bush Administration decided to militarily bolster Abbas in order to curb Hamas' growing strength, but the Iranian-trained terrorist militia easily overran their CIA-trained Fatah foes in a stunning three-day assault.