Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today called on Secretary of State John Kerry to publicly state that there will be an immediate cut-off of relevant U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority should the unity government it is pursuing fail to comply with the detailed requirements set forth by the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.

In a letter to Kerry, Rubio and Kirk highlighted the counter-productive steps being taken by the Palestinian Authority after the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Fatah announced plans to pursue a unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization that has a stated goal of wiping Israel from the map.

“As you know, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 sets detailed requirements for the continuation of U.S. assistance should Hamas be brought into the Palestinian Authority government. The law is very clear. If Hamas comes to have a role in governance, there must be public acknowledgment of the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist as well as acceptance of all previous agreements the Palestinians have made with Israel, the United States, and the international community,” the senators wrote. “The law also requires that demonstrable progress be made toward dismantling of Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure and purging of individuals with ties to terrorism. Moreover, Hamas would need to halt its anti-American and anti-Israel incitement. The bar is high because the stakes are high and we must make sure to stand firmly by what we have said. Failing to do so will diminish the credibility of the United States.

“Unfortunately, we have already seen reports that influential voices within Hamas say a unity deal would not compel Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist,” they added. “It seems clear, therefore, that the current plans for the Palestinian Authority continue to disregard the assurances needed to support Israel’s security and move the Palestinian people further away from the day when they can live in peace.

“Under the unity deal as we understand it, no effort whatsoever will be made to disarm Hamas or even request that it renounce terrorism before joining the PA. Having an armed terrorist group, which is still committed to violence against Israel, as part of the PA government should make that government ineligible for American aid,” they continued. “We urge you to state publicly that there will be an immediate cut-off of relevant U.S. assistance unless there is full compliance with the letter and spirit of all provisions in the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act.”

A PDF of the letter is available here.

The full text of the letter is available below:

The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Kerry:

The events of recent weeks have shown once again that Israel does not currently have a viable partner for peace. The decision of the PLO and Fatah to pursue a unity government with Hamas makes their intentions clear. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has a stated goal of wiping Israel from the map. As a result, Israel has good reason to refuse to negotiate with a PLO that is backed by Hamas. While some portray a unity Palestinian Authority government as a step toward Palestinian reconciliation, the sad truth is that it only serves to gravely undermine all of the efforts that both sides have made to seek an enduring and peaceful two-state solution.

As you know, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 sets detailed requirements for the continuation of U.S. assistance should Hamas be brought into the Palestinian Authority government. The law is very clear. If Hamas comes to have a role in governance, there must be public acknowledgment of the Jewish state of Israel’s right to exist as well as acceptance of all previous agreements the Palestinians have made with Israel, the United States, and the international community. The law also requires that demonstrable progress be made toward dismantling of Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure and purging of individuals with ties to terrorism. Moreover, Hamas would need to halt its anti-American and anti-Israel incitement. The bar is high because the stakes are high and we must make sure to stand firmly by what we have said. Failing to do so will diminish the credibility of the United States.

Unfortunately, we have already seen reports that influential voices within Hamas say a unity deal would not compel Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. It seems clear, therefore, that the current plans for the Palestinian Authority continue to disregard the assurances needed to support Israel’s security and move the Palestinian people further away from the day when they can live in peace.

Under the unity deal as we understand it, no effort whatsoever will be made to disarm Hamas or even request that it renounce terrorism before joining the PA. Having an armed terrorist group, which is still committed to violence against Israel, as part of the PA government should make that government ineligible for American aid. We urge you to state publicly that there will be an immediate cut-off of relevant U.S. assistance unless there is full compliance with the letter and spirit of all provisions in the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act.

Sincerely,

Marco Rubio

Mark Kirk