The Obama administration has asked Congress for minor changes in US law that would allow the continued provision of funds to the Palestinian Authority even if Hamas officials become part of a Palestinian unity government, the LA Times reported Monday.
The newspaper said that congressional supporters of Israel were dismayed by the move, quoting Rep. Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.) as telling Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at a House hearing last week that it was akin to agreeing to support a government that "only has a few Nazis in it."
According to the LA Times, the Obama administration requested the changes this month as part of an $83.4-billion emergency spending bill that also includes funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would also provide $840 million for the Palestinian Authority and for rebuilding Gaza post-Operation Cast Lead, but the administration is trying to work out how to deliver the aid to Gaza in light of federal restrictions on dealing with Hamas.
US officials claimed that the new proposal didn't constitute recognition of Hamas or aiding the group. Under law, any US aid would require that the PA government recognize Israel, renounce violence and agree to abide by past Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
Although Hamas doesn't meet those criteria, if a Palestinian unity government is established, the Obama administration wants to be able to provide aid as long as the Hamas-backed members of the government meet the three criteria, even if the organization itself does not, according to the paper. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) was quoted as saying that the proposal sounded "completely unworkable," even if the individual Hamas-backed officials agreed to abide by US conditions. You couldn't have the leadership of a terrorist organization pick the ministers in the government, with the power to appoint and withdraw them, and answering to them," he said.
I bet you thought the ‘hope and change’ bit was just for Americans only and didn’t include terrorist organizations world wide. Your bad.