WASHINGTON – Congress should cut aid to the Palestinians upon the formation of a unity government with Hamas, Deputy Minister of Defense Danny Danon told The Jerusalem Post in an interview conducted just before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas inducted the new technocratic cabinet on Monday.
In Washington, lobbying chief lawmakers on the appropriations, foreign relations and banking committees on Capitol Hill— which govern the fate of America’s $500 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority— Danon said the US government’s decision to recognize such a government was a moral dilemma.
“You cannot play a game with this, the same way you cannot hide the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization,” Danon said. “You look at the wording of the law, it says it’s not a Hamas appointment but the involvement of Hamas. And it’s a moral decision today that the administration has to make, whether they believe the unity government is bad and whether they will follow the law.”
On Monday, the State Department said the US intends on working with the government
— and does not plan on cutting off aid.
Danon said the PA would not collapse if the US cut aid, as the administration has suggested; they have other sources of funding, the minister said. But “it will make it harder for them,” he added.
“Very clearly,” Danon added, appropriations law from the US Congress stipulates that, “if there is a unity government with Hamas, no funding shall be transferred to the PA.”
Danon also took in meetings at the Pentagon during his visit to Washington.