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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Bipartisan letter from US Senate warns of potential cut-off of aid to Palestinians

WASHINGTON -- The US Senate sent a united message of "grave concern" to US President Barack Obama on Thursday regarding the formation of a reconciliation government between Fatah and Hamas, and what the move might require of Congress in determining future US aid to the Palestinians.
88 senators from across party lines signed the letter sent to the White House, written by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME), which warns the new PA unity effort might "jeopardize direct negotiations with Israel to achieve a two-state solution."
"The recent formation of a Palestinian Authority unity government supported by Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that has never publicly accepted the Quartet principles, represents a serious setback to efforts to achieve peace," the senators wrote.
Citing recent appropriations law, which calls for an end to assistance to the PA should Hamas share power in the government or exert "undue influence" over its government, the Senate said the law is clear and warned the president that the chamber would reconsider future aid.
"Any assistance should only be provided when we have confidence that this new government is in full compliance with the restrictions contained in current law," the letter reads.

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