The Washington Post

When will Obama cutt off funds to the Palestinian ‘unity’ government?

Echoing comments she made yesterday in an interview with Right Turn, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen issued a statement today:

“Let’s face reality: assistance to the Palestinian Authority will end up benefiting Hamas. Any nation that continues to fund the PA will be bankrolling a pro-militant, anti-Israel entity. If any government, or the UN, recognizes a Palestinian state, they will be recognizing a terror sanctuary that will threaten Israel and all free democracies.

“Hamas is a Foreign Terrorist Organization that calls Bin Laden a ‘holy warrior,’ remains determined to destroy Israel, and is responsible for the deaths of Israelis and Americans. Now, Hamas will be a part of the Palestinian Authority, without having to recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence, or accept previous agreements.

“Abu Mazen, head of the PA and Fatah, embraced Hamas’s leader and called Hamas ‘our brothers.’ In contrast, Abu Mazen still refuses even to directly negotiate with Israel. Abu Mazen is also undermining any chances for peace with Israel by pursuing unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state from foreign governments and the UN.

“The Administration must follow U.S. law and immediately cut off all assistance to the PA. The U.S. also must announce that it will veto any UN Security Council resolution recognizing a Palestinian state, and will oppose any other efforts in international bodies to recognize such a state.”

To echo the chairwoman, the administration needs to face reality. As currently constituted, the Hamas-Fatah entity cannot receive taxpayer money. If the Obama administration has some clever legalistic argument for continued funding of a government that is co-founded and co-controlled by a terrorist organization, it should spell it out. If not, it needs to abide by the law.

But forget the law for just a moment (the Obama gang usually does when convenient). The Obama administration’s position is entirely unsustainable from a political standpoint. I doubt there is a more than a handful of votes in Congress that would support continued funding of the unity government. And, in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s killing, if you asked Americans whether we should fund a government jointly run by the terrorist group that has shelled Israeli civilians and mourned bin Laden’s death, you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a couple percent who’d approve continued funding.

If the Hamas-Fatah marriage quickly dissolves, the administration will be off the hook. But if not, it risks taking on a huge political liability without the support of virtually any mainstream Democrats. It would behoove the administration, now that Obama is all decisive and leading from the front, to get ahead of the political steam engine and suspend funds now. Otherwise, it will become a political nightmare.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.


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