Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) issued the following statement today calling on the Obama administration to halt and review U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority following President Abbas’ announcement of a new Hamas-backed transitional government:
“Israel has gone to great lengths in recent months to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian Authority, but President Abbas’ announcement earlier today of a Hamas-backed Palestinian transitional government makes clear once again that Israel does not have a viable partner for peace.
“The United States has given more than $5 billion to the Palestinians over the last several decades. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians has played an important role in helping to ensure Israel’s security and promoting stability in Palestinian controlled areas. Current U.S. law is clear – any government over which an unreformed Hamas exercises undue influence and which emerges from a Fatah/Hamas deal is not an appropriate recipient of U.S. assistance. The naming of a technocratic slate of ministers by President Abbas seems to be an attempted end run around these obligations.
“Hamas remains a terrorist group that has killed Americans. Its leaders continue to refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist. One month ago, we wrote to Secretary of State Kerry and urged him to state clearly the U.S. position regarding assistance to a power-sharing government backed by Hamas. We have yet to receive an answer. Now that the President Abbas has announced the new government, consistent with existing U.S. law, we believe that U.S. assistance should be halted and reviewed. Unless Hamas publicly accepts Israel’s right to exist and ceases its support for terrorism, U.S. aid should be suspended to any Palestinian government over which Hamas exercises influence.
“The administration's initial reaction to continue aid is outrageous and runs counter to existing law. We call on the Obama administration to enforce the law. U.S. credibility as well as Israel’s security are at stake.”