Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has seen through this charade for months. Back in May, about a week after Fatah and Hamas announced their intention to form a unity government, Ros-Lehtinen was emphatic about refusing to release taxpayer funds to “whatever hybrid marriage, whatever Rubrik’s cube” is used to rationalize such funding. The particular rationale the Obama administration is trying foist on Congress? As long as Hamas doesn’t “control” a unity government, American taxpayer dollars can keep flowing. Ros-Lehtinen wasn’t biting. “That’s not what the law says,” she explained. “I don’t care if there is one or five or hundreds of members of Hamas, no U.S. funds can go to the PA. Call it what you want…Be fools if you want. But we will hold the Obama administration’s feet to the fire.”
As of the beginning of October, the funds remain unreleased, something characterized by the Palestinian Authority as “collective punishment” in response to Abbas’ bid for statehood at the U.N. “It is another kind of collective punishment which is going to harm the needs of the public without making any positive contribution,” said Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), member of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, was unimpressed, telling a group of congressmen and Jewish organization leaders that “there may need to be a total cutoff of all aid to the Palestinians for pursuing [the U.N. route to statehood] which is very dangerous and ill advised.”
Bradley Goehner, communications director of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs confirmed Congress’s stance on the issue. “There is an informational hold on the funding,” he noted. “The Chairman (Ros-Lehtinen) and other Committee Members are seeking further details about how funds have been used in the past, how they will be used, safeguards, and the system in place to phase the Palestinians away from dependency on the U.S. This is a tool of Congressional oversight.” Goehner then spoke directly to the issue. “Members believe that the funding cannot be considered in a vacuum, and that the PA’s activities at the UN, its arrangement with Hamas, and its failure to recognize Israel’s right to exist as Jewish State must all be taken into consideration,” he said.
Yet the Obama administration remained adamant. “We still have some money in the pipeline but the concern is that if we don’t get this going with the Congress in short order there could be an effect on the ground,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. Former president Bill Clinton also expressed the idea that Congress should allow the Obama administration to call the shots on funding. “Everybody knows the U.S. Congress is the most pro-Israel parliamentary body in the world,” said Clinton. “They don’t have to demonstrate that.”
Perhaps not. But considering the level of Israeli support demonstrated by an Obama administration willing to countenance the funding of a federally-designated terrorist organization, as long as they don’t control a Palestinian unity government, Congress remains a counter-weight to the kind of faculty lounge, pseudo-intellectualism that afflicts the president and his enablers. All one has to do is substitute the word “Nazi” for “Hamas” and consider if funding a Fatah-Nazi unity government–as long as the Nazis are in the minority, of course–would make any sense. As to the inevitable comparison that progressives will make about the fact that we give foreign aid to Israel, thus it is only “fair” that we fund Palestinians, the response is simple: as of now, neither Fatah nor Hamas recognizes Israel’s right to exist, and the latter’s charter of existence calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state and the extermination of Jews.
U.S. taxpayers helping to provide cellphones and cash to facilitate that ambition isn’t fair. It’s obscene.
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