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Sunday, May 01, 2011

State Department won't rule out aid to Fatah - Hamas government

The US State Department led by Hillary Clinton is refusing to rule out continued American aid to a Fatah - Hamas government.
However, a State Department official authorized to speak only on background was a bit more expansive, albeit not definitive. He said, “We have seen the press reports and are seeking more information. As we have said before, the United States supports Palestinian reconciliation on terms which promote the cause of peace. To play a constructive role, any Palestinian government must accept the Quartet principles by renouncing violence, accepting past agreements, and recognizing Israel’s right to exist.” For now it is business as usual, he explained: “I note that the current Palestinian government remains in place and our assistance programs continue. As I said, we have seen press reports and are seeking more information. Our current support to the Palestinian Authority, as led by President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, serves as an important contribution to U.S. efforts to support the building of Palestinian institutions that are necessary for a future state.”

As for the future, there was no line-drawing. The official would only say, “If a new Palestinian government is formed, we will assess it based on its policies at that time and will determine the implications for our assistance based on U.S. law.”

This is the sort of maddening imprecision that seems to be designed to give maximum encouragement to the Palestinians and produce maximum anxiety for Israel and its Zionist supporters. A savvy Israel watcher on Capitol Hill told me that it seems that with regard to the Fatah-Hamas pact, the administration is “either in denial or hoping it will collapse.” However, though some in the administration might pine for a loophole to continue to support a coalition government that includes Hamas (or Hamas officials), Congress is another story.
What could go wrong?

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