Friday, April 29, 2011

US warns against Palestinian unity deal

Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas (L) in a meeting with US President Barack Obama (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Source: Press TV

US lawmakers have warned that Washington would halt its aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) should the Fatah party form a unity government with Hamas.

In the wake of an announcement of a unity deal between the two sides by acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas, the lawmakers said that US funding could not flow to a unity government, Israeli news source Ynetnews reported on Thursday.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv before they make their statement regarding the US funding to a Palestinian unity government.

"The Palestinian Authority has chosen an alliance with violence and extremism over the democratic values that Israel represents," said the group.

"US taxpayer funds should not and must not be used to support those who threaten US security, our interests and our vital ally, Israel," said Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Republican chairwoman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

The United States has given an average of about $400 million per year to the Palestinian Authority headed by caretaker Prime Minister Salam Feyadh. Total US funding since 1994 has topped $3.5 billion.

Israel, a close ally to the US, is mainly concerned over an agreement between Hamas and Fatah, two Palestinian factions that have been at odds since Hamas came to power in the 2006 general elections.

Netanyahu said on Thursday that "The Palestinian National Authority needs to choose between peace with Israel and peace with Hamas."

The Israeli premier added that peace with both sides is impossible because Hamas aspired to destroy Israel.

Israel launched a three-week devastating war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in December 2008, leaving 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, dead and thousands of others displaced.

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