Not buying that Hamas' only problem is negative publicity, Rice has added to the already mounting monetary squeeze on Hamas by warning the arab countries not to give them any money. In an interview with Arab journalists, Rice delivered a blunt new warning to Iran.
"Iran has its own troubles with the international community and it might want to think twice about enhancing those troubles" by bankrolling Hamas, Rice said.
The United States considers Hamas a terrorist group and Iran a patron of terrorism, and has no official dealings with either.
"I would hope that any state that is considering funding Hamas, a Hamas-led government, would think about the implications of that for the Middle East" and for the goal of peace between Israel and the Palestinians, Rice said.
The Palestinian Authority gets a majority of its approximately $1.9 billion annual budget from overseas sources. Without money from the United States and Europe — or Palestinian customs fees collected by the Israelis — a Hamas-led government would be nearly broke.
Hamas leaders have said they will look elsewhere for money, and are expected to appeal to Arab states and to Iran.
"It will be very interesting to see if that $1.9 billion is available," Rice said with evident skepticism.
Very interesting indeed.