The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a resolution opposing any new U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority unless Hamas revokes its call for the destruction of Israel.
The resolution is symbolic, but House members have introduced separate legislation that would provide for strong sanctions against the Palestinian Authority.
The resolution expresses the sense of Congress that no U.S. aid should be provided if any party holding a majority of seats in the Palestinian legislature advocates the destruction of Israel.
In speeches on the floor of the House of Representatives, lawmakers voiced their opposition to any U.S. taxpayer dollars going to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas changes its stated goals and renounces violence.
"When Hamas looks at America, at the [Bush] administration, at the [U.S.] Congress, they must see nothing but fierce, unrelenting, and implacable rejection," said Congressman Gary Ackerman, a New York Democrat. "There can be no political absolution for this pack of killers. And the very idea of giving our taxpayers money to these bloody-handed fanatics, people who have slaughtered our own citizens, is offensive."
Although supporting the resolution, House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde adopted a slightly different approach. He describes the Hamas legislative election victory as an expression of Palestinian frustration with corruption in the Fatah party. He cautions against temptations to abandon what he calls ways of remaining constructively engaged with the Palestinian people and the (Palestinian) Authority, reports Voice of America.
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