U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois is joining forces with Republican colleague Marco Rubio to urge the Obama Administration to suspend aid to Palestine.
In a statement Monday, the senators denounced Palestine Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for folding the Islamist militant group Hamas into a new "government of national unity" designed to bring together feuding political factions that dominate Gaza and the West Bank.
"The United States has given more than $5 billion to the Palestinians over the last several decades," said Kirk and Rubio's missive. "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. .. (But) Hamasremains a terrorist group that has killed Americans. Its leaders continue to refuse to accept Israel's right to exist."
They continued, "The administration's initial reaction to continue aid is troubling and runs counter to existing law (boycotting assistance to Hamas). We call on the Obama administration to enforce the law. U.S. credibility as well as Israel’s security are at stake."
According to the Washington Post, the American government suggested terms for the coalition government that would not set off a ban on aid.
Israel backed out of peace negotiations in April after Abbas and Hamas said they planned to organize a unity government and hold presidential and parliamentary elections in the next six months. President Obama called the announcement "unhelpful."
The State Department said Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with Abbas on Sunday, was concerned about Hamas' "role in any such government and the importance that the new government commit to the principles of nonviolence." Abbas told Kerry it would continue on the path of nonviolence.