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Monday, January 30, 2006


Cutting Hamas funding

Good beginning IMHO. 

"Congress Racing to Isolate a Hamas Regime

By MEGHAN CLYNE - Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 30, 2006

"WASHINGTON - Congress is moving quickly in the face of Hamas's victory in the Palestinian elections to slash American funding for the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations and ensure that America moves to isolate the new regime.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican of Florida, will introduce House legislation this week to slash American funding to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations; designate the Palestinian Authority as a "terrorist sanctuary," and close down some Palestinian Authority offices in America as part of a reduction of Palestinian-American diplomatic ties.

The bill would be the first official move in Washington toward cutting funding to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Authority, as concern about the terrorist organization's electoral victory has prompted increasingly vocal calls on Capitol Hill to stop aid to the Palestinian Arabs.

The bill is expected to be introduced tomorrow when the House reconvenes for President Bush's State of the Union address, and will start in the House International Relations Committee. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen is chairwoman of the committee's Subcommittee on the Middle East and Central Asia, which has congressional jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority.

"Abu Mazen and the PA leadership were given numerous opportunities to prove what they're made of - to prove that they're committed to peace and security," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said yesterday of Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah Party, also known as Abu Mazen. "They showed their stripes. Even after Israel withdrew from Gaza, they refused to disarm Hamas and other terrorists, and they allowed them to gain strength.

"We must ensure that taxpayer funds are not used to assist, directly or indirectly, those who carry out terrorist attacks and those who allow these attacks to continue by doing nothing to combat terror," the congresswoman said.

According to senior congressional staff familiar with the legislation, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen's bill is a comprehensive crackdown on American aid to and interactions with a terrorist-controlled Palestinian Authority or Palestinian Legislative Council. The bill would "prohibit direct assistance to the PA, the PLC, municipalities, and other constituent elements that are 'governed' by individuals associated with Hamas or other terrorist entities," according to a "Dear Colleague" letter obtained by The New York Sun that will begin circulating in Congress today as an invitation to potential co-sponsors. America is contributing about $150 million in aid to the Palestinian government this year.

The legislation would also "audit all committees, offices, and commissions focused on the Palestinian agenda at the United Nations and recommend for their elimination," according to the letter. Ms. Ros-Lehtinen's bill would slash American U.N. contributions proportional to the amount spent by the United Nations on aid to Palestinian Arabs, and on Palestinian Authority-related programs. The Sun reported last week that the U.N. spends about $3.5 million a year on such activities; America shoulders about 22% of the U.N.'s operating costs.

Requests for comment yesterday from the United Nations about the proposed funding cut were not responded to immediately.

According to staff, the House legislation also would reduce America's ties to and interactions with a Hamasled Palestinian Authority, in order both to signal America's unwillingness to deal with terrorists and to protect America from possible terrorist activity conducted under the guise of official Palestinian Authority business here."



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