Nearly two weeks ago, Fatah, the U.S.-backed Palestinian National Liberation Movement, signed an agreement to form a unity government with Hamas, a U.S.-listed foreign terror organization. This agreement is having significant political reverberations here in America.
The government of Palestine received $502.9 million dollars from the United States last year, for a total of $3.5 billion since 1994. Thus far, those funds have been purposed for education, health care, security, and development as the Palestinian Authority seeks a peaceful solution to the current Middle East crisis.
However, a new “unity government” will conduct a radically different Middle East peace process. Hamas’s own foreign minister has stated that Hamas “believe[s] that negotiations with the Israeli enemy are in vain.” The Hamas Charter calls for Islam to “abolish” Israel and for Muslims to “fight the Jews and kill them.” It further proclaims, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except jihad.”
Hamas has done nothing to shy away from its charter. Just last week, the Hamas prime minister mourned the loss of Osama bin Laden, calling him a “holy warrior.”
Twenty-seven Democratic senators have urged the president to cut off funding for the Palestinian Authority, stating: “US law prohibit[s] aid from being provided to a Palestinian government that includes Hamas unless the government and all its members have publically committed to the Quartet principles,” which require any Palestinian government to recognize Israel, renounce terrorism, and accept previous agreements.
However, Hamas has expressly rejected each of those principles, announcing shortly after signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Fatah, “Now the Quartet has become obsolete.”
Where would U.S. dollars go in this new unity government? Hamas isn’t hiding their intentions for these funds. In touting the new unity government, Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahhar announced, “We believe in armed struggle, in addition to responsible governing, as well as making the government’s resources available to the resistance,” i.e. terrorism. In addition, by joining with Fatah, Hamas would be in partial control of the Palestinian security forces, which are being trained by the U.S. military.
Israel has already cut off tax funds that it routinely collects for the Palestinian Authority. The United States should follow this example, suspend all funds to the Palestinians until Fatah withdraws from the agreement, and make it clear that if the agreement is honored, there will be no more U.S. dollars for the Palestinian Authority. The fact that we even have to debate this question is absurd.
— Jordan Sekulow is director of policy and international operations for the American Center for Law and Justice.