Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (C) meets with ministers of the unity government, in the West Bank city of Ramallah June 2, 2014. Abbas swore in a Palestinian unity government on Monday under a reconciliation deal with Hamas Islamists that led Israel to freeze U.S.-brokered peace talks with the Western-backed leader. (REUTERS/Majdi Mohammed)
The two Palestinian factions, Fatah and the terrorist group Hamas, formed a unity government today in the West Bank.
U.S. law is very clear about aid to Hamas–
US law bans funding to Hamas-backed governments stretch back to the 2006 Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act. Recent language from the 2012 approps bill restricts aid from going “to Hamas or any entity effectively controlled by Hamas, any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member, or that results from an agreement with Hamas and over which Hamas exercises undue influence.”
The Guardian reported on the new government today:
After seven years of a bitter and at times lethal rivalry between the two main Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, a historic Palestinian unity government has been sworn in, ending years of division.
The signing ceremony, which seems likely to complicate relations with the Palestinian Authority’s international aid donors in Europe and the US and increase tensions with Israel, was broadcast live in both Gaza and the West Bank.
The US indicated over the weekend that it would wait to see the policies of the new unity government before deciding whether to recognise it, because of Hamas’s involvement.
Before the ceremony the US secretary of state, John Kerry, telephoned the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, to express “concern about Hamas’s role in any such government,” the state department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, told reporters.
Israel, which suspended peace negotiations in April when a surprise reconciliation deal was signed, opening the way to the appointment of the new government, has threatened punitive sanctions against any government backed by Hamas, saying it would serve as a front for the group and “strengthen terrorism”.
So will Obama follow the law and defund the Palestinians?