88 senators are urging the Obama administration to act to take Gaza away from its Hamas terrorist rulers and hand it over to the Palestinian Authority (PA), The Daily Beast reports.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry obtained by the website, the 88 senators write, “We must support efforts to enable the Palestinian Authority to exercise real power in Gaza. Hamas has demonstrated conclusively both that it has no interest in peace with Israel and that it has no concern for the well-being of Gaza residents.”
The letter to Kerry was circulated in the senate by Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican and Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, according to The Daily Beast.
The senators said in the letter they support humanitarian aid to Gaza but will oppose reconstruction of Gaza until Hamas disarms, a position which is the same as the Israeli government and which Hamas has rejected.
The senators also urge Kerry to continue to work against efforts from PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to target Israel in international forums, such as the International Criminal Court.
“All Palestinians deserve a government that will seek to advance their safety and prosperity—not use them as human shields,” the senators wrote.
“Real peace between Israelis and Palestinians will require a Palestinian partner that controls the West Bank and Gaza, is focused on economic development and stability in both areas, and will accept Gaza’s demilitarization. We must start this process now.”
This is not the first time that senators have urged Kerry to take action with regards to Hamas. In May, U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called on the Secretary of State to publicly state that there will be an immediate cut-off of relevant U.S. assistance to the PA, should its unity government fail to comply with the detailed requirements set forth by the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006.
In September of 2011, a $192 million aid package was frozen by Congress after the PA submitted a failed unilateral bid for United Nations membership.
Members of Congress later released $40 million in economic and humanitarian funding for the PA, saying it is “vital to establishing and strengthening the foundations necessary for a future Palestinian state.”
In April of 2012, President Barack Obama bypassed a Congress block and signed a waiver declaring that aid to the Palestinian Authority is “important to the security interests of the United States.”