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Huckabee Denounces US Aid to PA Following Unity Pact

Former governor expresses ongoing support for Operation Brothers' Keeper during Shomron visit, decries US attitude to Hamas.
By Uzi Baruch and Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 6/25/2014, 3:55 PM

Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee
Yoni Kempinski

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee visited the town of Tzufim in Samaria Wednesday, for a tour on life in Judea and Samaria (Shomron). 

Chairman of the Samaria Regional Council Gershon Mesika briefed Huckabee on a survey of Jewish communities in Samaria, as well as plans for the future. 

Afterwards, Huckabee expressed the US's ongoing support for Israel, especially in light of Hamas's kidnapping of three yeshiva students. Naftali Frenkel, a 16 year-old US citizen, was kidnapped with fellow students Gilad Sha'ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19) thirteen days ago by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion.  

"I want to to express the concern of every American to the Frenkel family," Huckabee said. "The kidnapping of Naftali is something that will not be overlooked by any person with a heart who lives on the face of the earth." 

"No mother deserves to go to bed at night without knowing where her child is," he continued. "We join in with the people of the world - with the rational and sane people of the world - and ask that if there is anyone who knows information [about the boys' whereabouts], please [...] don't cover up the facts and let's bring these boys home." 

Huckabee also related to the current unity pact between Hamas and Fatah. 

"The US cannot accept Hamas-Fatah unity, this is unacceptable," he said. "Even by the standards of the State Department, Hamas is a terror organization." 

"Not a single US taxpayer dollar should go toward the Palestinians for as long as they believe it's acceptable to work with terrorists," he added. "We must demand not only the dismantling of this relationship, but also that Hamas give a full accounting of its involvement in the kidnapping of these three young men." 

Mesika thanked Huckabee for his support for Judea and Samaria.

"This is especially important because, despite threats from the Left about [Israel's] delegitimization, there remains support across the globe for the State of Israel, and for the patriotic building in Judea and Samaria," Mesika said. "From here we can better understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; without Samaria we would not have control over the coastal plain [Tel Aviv area - ed.] - without Samaria, Israel would not exist."

"This meeting constitutes another step in strengthening the status of the State of Israel around the world," Deputy Chairman Yossi Dagan added. "Especially now, when we are searching for our boys, the presence of American officials in Israel and Judea-Samaria is important."

The US has been notably quiet about the kidnappings, drawing intense criticism from both Israelis and American Jewry over what many see as a blasé attitude toward the situation. 

While President Barack Obama has yet to release an official statement on the abduction - despite the fact that nearly two weeks have passed - US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the kidnapping last week. 

"We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas' involvement," he said.

"As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past."

Before the abduction, the US had stated that it was 'willing to work with' Hamas and decided against cutting off aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) despite the unity pact.