U.S. Congress Weighs Aid to Palestinians

Washington, July 20 - U.S. lawmakers are considering measures to cut aid to any Palestinian government tied to the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group, even as Palestinian leaders try to line up votes for a unilateral declaration of statehood at the United Nations.

The U.S. and EU-designated ‘Foreign Terrorist Organization,’ Hamas, is funded and armed by Iran and dedicated to destroying Israel. Hamas’ Charter states: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.”

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas entered into a power-sharing alliance with Hamas in May, causing world leaders to worry that the Islamic resistance movement would be able to dictate Palestinian actions towards Israel in the coming months.

A U.S. House of Representatives panel introduced a bill this week that would block American aid to the PA, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan “unless the Obama administration reassures Congress that they are cooperating in the worldwide fight against terrorism.”

The $550 million in aid that the Obama administration requested for the PA would be contingent on Hamas or any other terrorist organizations being barred from serving in policy positions in government ministries.

Last week, the House passed a similar-minded resolution, saying that President Obama should withhold funds from the PA if it goes ahead with their one-sided diplomatic plan for state recognition at the U.N. The resolution passed with overwhelming support; 407 out of 435 representatives voted for the motion.

European, American and Israeli officials worry about Hamas’ movement of weapons and terrorists into Gaza. So far this year, 351 rockets and missiles have been fired at Israeli civilians from Gaza. That number is 110 higher than the number of rockets fired from Gaza in all of last year.

Hamas, which controls Gaza since a violent coup in 2007 left hundreds of Palestinian officials and civilians dead, has not stopped firing rockets nor effectively controlled splinter Islamic terror groups from firing them.

The rocket launchings may be political messages. In fact, there were a few weeks of quiet after Hamas was believed to have secured a position in the new Palestinian government.

The rocket fired escalated after tensions between Hamas and the PA flared because Hamas insisted that one of its own representatives become the new prime minister while Abbas was resolute that pro-Western Salam Fayyad remain in the role,

Nearly 20 rockets were launched at Israel last week. Another one was fired over night.

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