from dailyalert.org, Apr. 25, 2014. (Click on the title of any article to see the whole article…Ed.)
Hamas Deal Last Straw for Congress on U.S. Aid to Palestinians – Julian Pecquet
Wednesday’s announcement of a reconciliation between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah triggered an instant call for retaliation on Capitol Hill. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs panel on the Middle East and authored the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, called for an immediate suspension of U.S. aid to the PA. The 2006 law prohibits support for a “Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority.”
“The Administration must halt aid to the Palestinian Authority and condition any future assistance as leverage to force Abu Mazen [Abbas] to abandon this reconciliation with Hamas and to implement real reforms within the PA,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “U.S. law is clear on the prohibition of U.S. assistance to a unity Palestinian government that includes Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and President Obama must not allow one cent of American taxpayer money to help fund this terrorist group.”
Her Democratic counterpart on the subcommittee, Ted Deutch of Florida, said, “Be certain that the Palestinian Authority will face significant consequences if a unity government is formed that includes terrorist members of Hamas.” (Al-Monitor)
See also Congress Eyes Steps to Defund PA
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, said Thursday she is ready to launch steps to defund the Palestinian Authority in the wake of its unity agreement with Hamas. “I’ll be working with the State Department on the logistics of suspending assistance….At this point the law is clear, their actions are clear and the path forward is clear.”
On Wednesday, Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), the chairwoman of the Foreign Operations subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, said, “Not only does this action potentially derail any hope of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, it puts in jeopardy future U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority.” (JTA)
U.S. Unwilling to Give Up Mideast Peace Process Yet – Lara Jakes
On Thursday Israel’s security cabinet agreed to shelve the negotiations with the Palestinians as the result of a new deal struck by the Palestinian Authority to create a reconciliation government with the militant group Hamas.
Secretary of State John Kerry sought on Thursday to portray the latest setback with as much optimism as the dismal development would allow: “There is always a way forward.” Even diplomats and experts sympathetic to Kerry’s desire to soldier on with the talks declared the Mideast peace process on life support.
Kerry acknowledged said Israeli and Palestinian leaders needed to be willing to make compromises to keep the nine months of negotiations alive beyond an April 29 deadline. Hamas has called for the destruction of the State of Israel, and is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU. (AP)