On January 1, 2009, one day after Hamas militants launched sixty rockets into Israel, hiding behind innocent women and children in Gaza while targeting innocent Israeli women and children across the border, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to use an “iron fist” in responding to the attacks. The ensuing ground invasion began on January 3, 2009 and ended with a unilateral ceasefire fifteen days later.
About a month later, in February 2009, the Obama White House announced that it would commit $900 million in aid to assist in the rebuilding of Hamas-controlled Gaza. Despite the funds being sent through non-governmental organizations, the disbursement was nonetheless a radical departure from Bush administration policy, under which Hamas was deemed a terrorist organization and as such was barred from any dealings with the United States.
For the sake of comparison, consider the difference between the official response of the American federal government to the January 12, 2010 earthquake which struck and devastated Haiti and the response to damage in Gaza for which the administration provided aid. The earthquake that rocked Haiti was a natural disaster—the sixth deadliest earthquake in recorded history—which left between 92,000 and 230,000 dead and millions more homeless, while the damage in Gaza was caused by a sovereign nation—and American ally—defending itself against terrorist activity. President Barack Obama authorized $900 million in aid to Hamas-controlled Gaza, yet two years later only authorized $100 million in aid to the already impoverished island nation.
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