Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Middle East are calling on Secretary of State John Kerry to explain the State Department’s decision to work with the new Palestinian unity government, which includes the terrorist group Hamas.
Calling the formation of the unity government a “deeply disturbing development,” a bipartisan letter from the subcommittee members goes on to say that “any decision to work with this unity government could be extraordinarily counterproductive in our efforts both to promote peace and to help support the security of our ally Israel,” U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said. They added that they plan to hold a hearing to hear directly from Kerry about the administration’s decision.
U.S. law prohibits America from providing funding to any Palestinian government that is controlled by, shares power with, or is influenced by Hamas. While the unity government is largely composed of allegedly neutral technocrats under the control of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas has given its consent to the government’s formation, while refusing to recognize Israel or renounce terrorism.