In the wake of the announced reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, three prominent members of Congress declared that the PA’s merger with the terrorist organization would spell an end to U.S. aid.
House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen released a statement:
“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. U.S. taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten U.S. security, our interests, and our vital ally, Israel.
“According to existing U.S. law, such a hybrid government cannot be a recipient of U.S. taxpayer funds because the law stipulates that the PA government must recognize the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist, among other things. Therefore, in order to implement existing law, the U.S. must end assistance to the Palestinian Authority.
“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.
“The Israeli and Palestinian people are eager for peace, but support for this type of PA government is not the way to get there.”
Likewise, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, put out this statement :
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 (as if it were some kind barbaric of addiction, or compulsion), 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), the reality is that they can’t.
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. And in the current political climate, even assistance that would otherwise have gone to parts of the Palestinian Authority untainted by terrorism may no longer be salvageable.
For months, President Abbas has refused partnership with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in pursuing peace negotiations. It now appears that he is writing off partnership with the United States in helping to govern and develop Palestinian society.
It’s certainly historic leadership. Just not the good kind.”
And Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the highest ranking Democrat on the House foreign aid subcommittee, issued her own statement, warning, “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 U.S. assistance and support at risk, based on restrictions I authored as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.”
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) was more succinct in a tweet: “Hamas +Fatah=probable suspension of US aid to Palestinian Authority ... Hamas supports terror, killed 26 American citizens.”
The collapse of the peace process, which was the obsessive focus for most of the president’s first two years, cannot be seen as anything but a personal rebuke to Obama. As Jackson Diehl pointed out, “Abbas seems deeply disillusioned with Obama. He recently trashed the U.S. president in an interview with Newsweek, saying he had mismanaged the issue of Israeli settlements.” (Well, give the devil his due on that one.) Not only does this mean, as Jackson points out, that Abbas has “written off the peace process,” it is a sign that the Obama administration (which was taken entirely by surprise) has been entirely clueless as to the PA’s motives and plans. As bad an ally as Obama has been to Israel, he’s been a worse interlocutor with the Palestinians. It seems the “smart diplomacy” we were promised was anything but.