WASHINGTON – Senior congressmen said Thursday that if the Palestinian Authority follows through on its intention to reconcile with Hamas, the move may jeopardize the United States' aid to the Palestinians, and perhaps even bring it to a halt.
The United States Foreign Assistance Act names stipulations for such aid, which the Palestinian Authority – if it forms a government with Hamas – will fail to meet. The US considers Hamas a terror organization, and naturally, will halt any funds which may fund their way to it.
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House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement saying that, "The reported agreement between Fatah and Hamas means that a Foreign Terrorist Organization which has called for the destruction of Israel will be part of the Palestinian Authority government. US taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten US security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel.
“According to existing US law, such a hybrid government cannot be a recipient of US taxpayer funds because the law stipulates that the PA government must recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist, among other things.
“By entering into this partnership with Hamas, Abu Mazen’s Palestinian leadership has shown again that it is not a partner for peace. If reports are correct, the PA would then be standing with those who want only death and destruction for Israel," Ros-Lehtinen's statement said.
'PA making the wrong choice. Again'
Congressman Gary Ackerman, the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, echoed the sentiment: "The purported deal, which does not require Hamas to accept Israel’s right to exist, or the binding nature of prior Palestinian commitments, or even to require Hamas to temporarily forgo violence against Israel… is a recipe for failure, mixed with violence, leading to disaster. It is a ghastly mistake that I fear will be paid for in the lives of innocent Israelis.
"Rather than seizing the dynamic of this amazing Arab Spring to simply push for national elections and constitutional reform, the leadership of the Palestinian Authority has once again naively decided to test the trustworthiness of a bloody-handed bunch of terrorist want-to-be theocrats.
"While this step may be popular among Palestinians, many of whom wish to preserve the fantasy that they can have peace and so-called ‘resistance’ (also known in English as terrorism). As in prior cases, the United States will be compelled by both law and decency to withhold any assistance that could fall into the hands or control or even partial control of anyone reporting to, or belonging to a terrorist entity, as is Hamas," said a statement by Ackerman.
Congresswoman Nita Lowey Nita Lowey, the highest ranking Democrat on the House foreign aid subcommittee, issued her own statement, warning that "Unless Hamas accepts the Quartet Principles, which include renouncing violence and recognizing Israel, the formation of a unity government with Fatah will be a deathblow to the peace process…
"A unity government with Hamas would put US assistance and support at risk, based on restrictions I authored as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.”
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