Could U.S. still fund PA that includes Hamas?
Menendez opposes unity government ‘with an unreformed Hamas’
On Monday, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said in a statement that a “Hamas-Fatah unity government threatens to permanently derail the peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians. Hamas is a terrorist organization that denies Israel’s right to exist and whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel. In its role as Israel’s ally, the U.S. should stand by its refusal to work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas, unless it accepts the Quartet conditions of recognizing Israel’s right to exist, rejecting violence, and endorsing previous Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements in order to participate in the transitional government and elections.
“We must also make clear,” he added, “that should [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas continue in a unity government with an unreformed Hamas that it will jeopardize its relationship with the United States and its receipt of U.S. aid. The legitimacy of any peace process must always be weighed against the assurances Israel needs for its security and the security of the region. Peace is impossible so long as terrorists have a seat at the table.”
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WASHINGTON – The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation may portend yet another Congress vs. White House showdown in the battle in Washington over Middle East policy.
The Obama administration has expressed its unhappiness with the compromise reportedly negotiated last week in Cairo, but it is not counting out the prospect of supporting a reconstituted Palestinian Authority in which Hamas plays some role.
Top Congress members from both parties have been more forthright: If Hamas joins the Palestinian government, there will be no more talk of moderates vs. terrorists, they said. If that happens, the Palestinians can kiss goodbye their approximately $500 million in annual U.S. aid.