US Senators urge EU to keep Hamas on terror list

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
March 17, 2011 22:05

Move comes after 'Post' report that PA was lobbying for such a change; House members draft bill to relocate US embassy to J'lem.

2 minute read.



Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal 311 Reu. (photo credit: Khaled Al Hariri / Reuters)

WASHINGTON – US Senators sent a letter to the EU Thursday urging that Hamas not be taken off its terror list following The Jerusalem Post’s report that the PA was lobbying for such a change.

“We urge you to encourage the Palestinian Authority to put more pressure on Hamas to renounce violence, recognize the Jewish State of Israel and accept all prior agreements, rather than pursuing diplomatic schemes that undermine the peace process,” stated the letter.

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It was co-authored by Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) and Bill Nelson (D-Florida), and signed by 14 other colleagues from both sides of the aisle.

The letter to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton noted “concern” over reports that the PA was pushing for the removal of Hamas from the EU terror list to facilitate the formation of a national unity government between the Islamic party and the secular Fatah.

The story was reported in the Post last week, as the two Palestinian groups try to respond to public demands sparked by the protests rocking the Arab world that they stop their infighting and unite.

The senators’ letter notes Hamas culpability in the death of at least 26 American citizens, and Hamas’s refusal to abide by demands to recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and respect previous agreements laid out by the Quartet, of which the EU is a member.

Also this week on Capitol Hill, a group of members of Congress is trying to strip the president of his power to waive a law requiring him to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

The legislation has the backing of 10 Republicans, including sponsor Dan Burton (RIndiana), chairman of the House’s Europe Subcommittee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Middle East Subcommittee and two Democrats.

The prominent roles played by the bill’s Republican supporters all but guarantee its passage in the Foreign Affairs Committee, and referral to the full House.

President Obama, like his predecessors Bush and Clinton, has consistently invoked the national security waiver in the 1995 law that first required such a move. A law removing such a waiver likely would be ignored by the White House as unconstitutionally challenging the president’s executive prerogative in setting foreign policy.

JTA contributed to this report.


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