Obama hosts Abbas at the White House, March 17, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – The United States is prepared to suspend aid to the Palestinian Authority if a unity government that includes Hamas fails to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and respect past agreements, a senior Obama administration official said on Sunday.
In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley, Tony Blinken, assistant to US President Barack Obama and a deputy national security adviser, said that the White House is ready to participate in such a suspension, should Congress move forward with a freeze.
By law – and independent of Israel and its own policies toward Hamas – Congress requires any power-sharing Palestinian government that includes Hamas to embrace the three principles outlined by Blinken or else forfeit US aid, amounting to more than $400 million annually.
Asked whether the White House is prepared to work with Congress to suspend the aid should Hamas fail to adhere to those principles, Blinken said, “If a government didn’t do that, yes.”
But Blinken expressed skepticism that the Palestinians would be able to deliver on the reconciliation agreement.
“We’ve heard that before.
Let’s see what happens. Let’s see if they actually deliver on it.”
The United States lists Hamas as a terrorist organization.