A bipartisan group of twenty-two lawmakers sent a letter to President Bush urging him to call on the Palestinian Arab leader, Mahmoud Abbas, “to do all in his power to ensure that the participation of Hamas in the upcoming elections is conditional on revising their charter eliminating language that states that ‘the day of judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews, killing the Jews’ and removing language calling for Israel’s destruction completely disarming, publicly renouncing terror, ceasing promoting violence and murder against Israeli and U.S. citizens a total cessation of terrorist behavior, and the transformation of the organization away from its culture of anti-Semitism and incitement to violence.”
The lawmakers added, “To do otherwise would send the wrong message that political advancement can be secured through the use of terror and further embolden the enemies of Israel. That is simply unacceptable allowing Hamas to operate as a terrorist organization, while allowing it to participate in the electoral process, undercuts any possibility of true democratic reform within Palestinian society.”
Nine of the signatories are members of the House International Relations Committee. Representative Dan Burton (R-IN), chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) also of the House International Relations Committee and the Subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia, co-sponsored the letter to President Bush regarding the possibility of the Hamas terrorist organization participating in Palestinian elections.
“It’s an important and appropriate request that these lawmakers have made,” said Morton A. Klein, National President of ZOA, and Murray Tenenbaum, Director of Government Relations, who praised the Members of Congress for signing on to the letter. “If the President is going to promise the Palestinian Arab leader $350 million in the State of the Union, and host him at a Rose Garden press conference, then Congress is certainly right to call on the President to use his influence with Abbas to prevent a terrorist organization from entering the Palestinian government fully armed and maintaining its terrorist platform. How can Abbas expect to make peace with the Jewish State of Israel with a group in his government committed to destroying the Jewish State and murdering every Jew.”
Members of Congress signing on to the letter include: Dan Burton (R-IN), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Allyson Schwartz (D-PA), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), Major R. Owens (D-NY), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Michael R. McNulty (D-NY), Michael Ferguson (R-NJ), Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Al Green (D-TX), Mike Pence (R-IN), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), Tom Tancredo (R-CO), Steve Israel (D-NY), Janice D. Schakowsky (D-IL), and Brad Sherman (D-CA).