Numerous others tell ZOA luncheon they oppose funding
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has strongly praised Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Robert P. Casey (D-PA) for the Senate Democratic caucus-initiated letter to the leader of the Democratic Party, President Barack Obama, signed by 27 other U.S. Democratic senators, urging the President to suspend U.S. aid to Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian Authority (PA) unless Hamas, which has now joined the Fatah-controlled PA in a unity government, recognizes Israel, renounces terrorism and fulfills the signed, written agreements between Israel and the PA. The PA now receives between $550-980 million per year from the U.S. taxpayer.
In their letter, the 29 senators more than half of the 53-member Democratic Senate caucus said, Hamas rejects peaceful efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and continues to call for the destruction of the State of Israel. Soon after this [Fatah/Hamas unity government] agreement was signed, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar declared that our plan does not involve negotiations with Israel or recognizing it. Hamas and other Iranian-backed terrorist groups in Gaza have also stepped up their smuggling of Iranian arms and increased their mortar and rocket attacks against Israeli civilians, firing more than 130 during the past month alone and nearly 300 this year. Hamas response to the killing of Osama Bin Laden, condemning the assassination and killing of an Arab holy warrior is emblematic of Hamas ideology and underscores Hamas continued support for terrorism. The United States should stand by its refusal to work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas It is imperative for you to make clear to President Abbas that Palestinian Authority participation in a unity government with an unreformed Hamas will jeopardize its relationship with the United States, including its receipt of U.S. aid. As you are aware, U.S. law prohibits aid from being provided to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas We urge you to conduct a review of the current situation and suspend aid should Hamas refuse to comply with Quartet conditions (Menendez, Casey and Colleagues Call for Evaluation of U.S. Relations with Fatah-Hamas Government, Possible Suspension of Aid to Palestine, Press Release, May 6, 2011).
In addition to Senators Menendez and Casey, the signatories of the letter are Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Carl Levin (D-MI), Max Baucus (D-MT), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jon Tester (D-MT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). Also, in a meeting, ZOA National President Morton A. Klein had yesterday with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Durbin told Klein that he would also oppose aid to the PA if Hamas remains part of the PA government.
Additionally, other senior Members of Congress have issued warnings that the United States will risk charges of financing terrorist operatives if U.S. aid to the PA is not cut. The House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has called attention to a 2006 law, P.L. No: 109-446, Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, that conditions U.S. aid on a requirement that Palestinian recipients must renounce violence and acknowledge Israel’s right to exist conditions which Hamas openly repudiates. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said, No taxpayer funds should go, they must not go, to the new Palestinian unity government. (Jennifer Rubin, Interview with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Part 1), Washington Post, May 4, 2011).
Also, Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) has similarly stated that the Fatah-Hamas unity government would put U.S. aid to the PA at risk. On April 29, Sen. Kirks office emailed a memo outlining that the legal implications of the Fatah/Hamas unity government meant that no U.S. funds may be provided for salaries for personnel of the PA located in Gaza, or to Hamas or entity it controls, nor may funding go to any government of which Hamas is a member unless the President certifies they have publicly accepted and complied with core requirements of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. Also, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) last week introduced a nonbinding resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives that also urged cutting off assistance to a Fatah/Hamas-run PA. Yesterday, numerous other Members of the House and Senate, while addressing a ZOA-sponsored luncheon, held on Capitol Hill in the Hart Senate Office Building, that they oppose funding the PA, including Reps. Allen West (R-FL) and Joe Walsh (D-FL). Hundreds of ZOA delegates from twenty states attended the luncheon before meeting with almost 200 Members of the House and Senate in individual visits.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, We strongly praise and support Senators Menendez, Casey and their 27 Democratic Senate colleagues, as well as Sen. Kirk and Representatives Ros-Lehtinen, Hastings, West, Walsh and numerous others for their forthright repudiation of the hideous notion that a Fatah/Hamas PA government is one that the U.S. could fund and for their urging the president to stop aid to the PA.
Quite simply, the PA should not be the recipient of U.S. aid, because it is an unreconstructed, terror-sponsoring regime, whose leadership refuses to accept Israels existence as a Jewish state. It is undeserving of any international support, rewards or concessions until, at the very least, it fulfills its 17-year old commitments to end terrorism and incitement to hatred and murder against Israel and Jews. That the PA now has formally joined forces with Hamas, which calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews, should automatically render it ineligible and illegal for any form of U.S. aid or diplomatic support.