Ben Cardin - Senator for Maryland

Cardin, Collins Lead Bipartisan Group Of 88 Senators With Concerns About Palestinian Unity Government

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) led a bipartisan supermajority of 88 Senators in sending a letter to President Barack Obama expressing strong reservations about U.S. relations with the newly formed Palestinian unity government.

 

“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. “By its actions and inaction, Hamas has demonstrated it is not a partner for peace.”

 

Citing the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 and restrictions contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2014, the Senators reminded the President of the legal prohibition on “foreign assistance to Hamas or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member or over which Hamas has undue influence.”

 

In addition to Senators Cardin and Collins, the letter was signed by Senators

 

Alexander

Ayotte

Barrasso

Begich

Bennet

Blumenthal

Brown

Blunt

Booker

Boozman

Boxer

Burr

Cantwell

Casey

Chambliss

Coats

Coburn

Cochran

Coons

Cornyn

Crapo

Cruz

Donnelly

Durbin

Enzi

Fischer

Flake

Franken

Gillibrand

Graham

Grassley

Hagan

Hatch

Heinrich

Heitkamp

Heller

Hirono

Hoeven

Isakson

Johanns

Tim Johnson

Ron Johnson

King

Kirk

Klobuchar

Landrieu

Lee

Levin

Manchin

Markey

McCain

Merkley

McCaskill

McConnell

Menendez

Mikulski

Moran

Murkowski

Murphy

Murray

Bill Nelson

Portman

Pryor

Reed

Risch

Roberts

Rubio

Schatz

Schumer

Scott

Sessions

Shaheen

Shelby

Stabenow

Tester

Thune

Toomey

Mark Udall

Tom Udall

Vitter

Walsh

Warner

Whitehouse

Warren

Wicker

Wyden

 

 

Below is the full text of the letter:  

 

June 11, 2014

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

We are appreciative of your Administration’s dedication to achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Unfortunately, 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.  We are gravely concerned that the formation of this government and President Abbas’ renewed effort to upgrade the status of the Palestinians within international organizations will jeopardize direct negotiations with Israel to achieve a two-state solution.  

 

By its actions and inaction, Hamas has demonstrated it is not a partner for peace. Hamas has openly called for Israel’s destruction and last month Hamas leaders again repeated their refusal to meet recognized international demands: recognition of Israel, renunciation of terror, and acceptance of previous Israel-PLO agreements.

 

Recent events have consequences as to U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority as provided for in the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 and restrictions contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2014, including prohibiting foreign assistance to Hamas or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member or over which Hamas has undue influence.  These troubling developments, including the role played by Hamas in the formation of the government, have undermined Congressional support for U.S. assistance to the Palestinians.  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.  We urge you to continue to impress on President Abbas the need for him to cease any alliance with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and to return to the negotiating table with Israel. 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

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