U.S. President Barack Obama faces stiff opposition from his own party’s senators on continued funding of the new Palestinian Authority’s Hamas-Fatah government, but oppositon is weaker in the House of Representatives.
Half of the Democratic Senators signed a letter to the president objecting to American aid for a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas, which the United States officially designates as a terrorist organization.
The weighty Democratic party opposition is in addition to that of the Republican side, which is far stronger in its stand against foreign aid in general and to the Palestinian Authority in particular.
"It is imperative for you to make clear to [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] 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," 27 senators wrote in the letter.
The legislators noted that American law prohibits any group from aiding Hamas, which has refused to renounce terror and which openly calls for the destruction of Israel.
New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez initiated the letter, which also urges President Obama to “conduct a review of the current situation and suspend aid should Hamas refuse to comply with Quartet conditions.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is considering a resolution introduced by Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings last week that calls for halting financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. However, 116 members of Congress signed a different letter to President Obama, supporting foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority.
Last November, U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton announced an additional $150 million in aid for PA.
President Obama lost his majority in the House in November’s Congressional elections. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and eight other of her party’s legislators arrived in Israel this week and met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who told the delegation that the United States should shun the Fatah-Hamas government.
Pelosi was non-committal and issued a statement: "Our delegation gathered together at nightfall (Sunday) to observe the beginning of Israel's Memorial Day. On this day, we remember all of the Israeli sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, who have gone to war and never come home. And we remember all of the victims of terror lost in acts of violence."