As the American Israel Political Affairs Committee is crowing today, a “supermajority” of 88 senators have sent a letter to President Obama, initiated by Ben Cardin and Susan Collins, denouncing the new Palestinian government and suggesting that no aid should be sent to the Palestinian Authority till it removes Hamas from the governing coalition. Hamas is “not a partner for peace,” the senators write (full text below), and it is an obstacle to “negotiations with Israel to achieve a two-state solution.”
Among the signatories are liberals Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Al Franken, Cory Booker, Richard Blumenthal, Sherrod Brown, Barbara Boxer, Barbara Mikulski, Maria Cantwell, and Ed Markey.
Here are twelve standouts who did not sign. I am assuming some refused, they weren’t just outta town. So this list is a list of honor, and it’s bipartisan, including three Republicans, one with supposed presidential ambition:
Tammy Baldwin, WI
Thomas Carper, DE
Bob Corker, Republican, TN
Dianne Feinstein, CA
Tom Harkin, IA
James Inhofe, Republican, OK
Tim Kaine, VA
Patrick Leahy, VT
Jack Reed, RI
Rand Paul, Republican, KY
Jay Rockefeller, WV
Bernie Sanders, Independent, VT
Here’s the letter.
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.