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Israel-Firsters in US Congress Threaten to Cut Aid to the PA in Retaliation to the Palestinian Reconciliation

In Light Of Palestinian Unity Deal, U.S. Threatens To Cut Aid To P.A.

Thursday April 28, 2011 10:36 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

The United States issued a statement on Wednesday denouncing the provisional unity deal signed between the rival Fat'h movement of President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Hamas movement. The U.S. said that such a deal could lead Washington to cut U.S.. aid to the Palestinian Authority (P.A.).

According to “Your Jewish News”, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, U.S. House Affairs Chairwoman, issued a statement denouncing the unity deal, and stating that under existing U.S. laws, the P.A. cannot receive fund from the U.S.

Ros-Lehtinen further stated that Abbas’s reach to Hamas, and his efforts for reconciliation “with a group considered by the U.S.. as a terrorist organization, will oblige Washington to end its aid”.

He said that should the P.A. in the West Bank reconcile with Hamas, “it will be aligning itself with a terrorist group that seeks death and destruction to Israel”.

Since the P.A. was established in mid-nineties, the United States has provided it with financial aid that amounts to more than $3.5 billion. It is also the largest donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the region. Israel receives more than 3.6 Billion a year from the United States.

The Jewish News said that a White House official also dubbed Hamas as a terrorist group, adding that any government in Palestine must “renounce violence” and respect previously signed peace deals.

Several republican and democratic congress members are pushing towards freezing all aid to the P.A. under the claim that the Fat'h-Hamas unity is “a recipe for terror”.

It is worth mentioning that the United States had repeatedly threatened to stop U.S. aid the Palestinian Authority, while several American lawmakers are demanding an American response to the Palestinian intention to declare an independent state this coming September.

The United States and Israel have launched a large-scale international campaign meant to block the Palestinian declaration of an independent state.

The P.A. and president Mahmoud Abbas on the other hand, also held talks with several countries to gather support for the September declaration of the state.

On April 21, President Abbas held talks with French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who said that Paris supports the declaration of the state.

Germany, on the other hand, is opposing the move. Three days ago, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said that she will be holding a meeting with President Abbas during his visit upcoming to Germany on May 5th, in order to try to convince him to change his mind.

US meets Palestinian unity deal with guarded optimism

[ 28/04/2011 - 10:00 AM ]


The Obama administration has met reports that rival Fatah and Hamas have reached a unity deal with guarded optimism.

Tommy Veitor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, stressed that the US still holds that Hamas is a terrorist group.

”Hamas ... is a terrorist organization which targets civilians,” said Veitore.

“As we have said before, the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace,” he said. ”To play a constructive role in achieving peace, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles and renounce violence, abide by past agreements, and recognize Israel's right to exist.”

“We have seen the press reports and are seeking more information,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hamas MPs in the West Bank have congratulated the Palestinians on the success of efforts in the path of national reconciliation and ending the split.

They emphasized in a statement that the Palestinians are a unified people no matter how much the threats and pressure from some parties may increase to try and divide them.

Some countries have threatened to cut aid to Palestine should reconciliation take place. But the statement says Palestinians have refused to respond, as they have become certain that unity is the only way to defeat the occupation and achieve freedom and dignity.

They emphasized that it is Israel that should be pressured and not the Palestinians and their right to defend their land and holy sites.

US warns against Palestinian unity deal

Press TV, Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:12AM

Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas (L) in a meeting with US President Barack Obama (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu US lawmakers have warned that Washington would halt its aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) should the Fatah party form a unity government with Hamas.

In the wake of an announcement of a unity deal between the two sides by acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas, the lawmakers said that US funding could not flow to a unity government, Israeli news source Ynetnews reported on Thursday.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv before they make their statement regarding the US funding to a Palestinian unity government.

"The Palestinian Authority has chosen an alliance with violence and extremism over the democratic values that Israel represents," said the group.

"US taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten US security, our interests and our vital ally, Israel," said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

The United States has given an average of about $400 million per year to the Palestinian Authority headed by caretaker Prime Minister Salam Fayadh. Total US funding since 1994 has topped $3.5 billion.

Israel, a close ally to the US, is mainly concerned over an agreement between Hamas and Fatah, two Palestinian factions that have been at odds since Hamas came to power in the 2006 general elections.

Netanyahu said on Thursday that "The Palestinian National Authority needs to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas."

The Israeli premier added that peace with both sides is impossible because Hamas aspired to destroy Israel.

Israel launched a three-week devastating war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in December 2008, leaving 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, dead and thousands of others displaced.


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