McConnell and Biden Introduce The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act
U.S. Senators Joe Biden (D-DE) today announced that he and Senator Mitch McConnell have introduced The Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006. This bill sends a clear message: the United States will not provide a single penny to a Hamas-led government unless it renounces violence, recognizes Israel, and accepts past agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. At the same time, the bill makes it clear that the U.S. wants to continue to support the basic needs of the Palestinian people.
"Hamas must choose between bullets and ballots, between destructive terror and constructive governance. It cannot have it both ways," said Biden, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee.
The bill affirms support for a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Hamas rejects. The bill also requires the Administration to report on steps it is taking to urge other nations to refrain from contacts or financial assistance to Hamas.
"These requirements are clear and they reflect the will not just of the United States, but of the international community, including the so-called Quartet of the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations," noted Biden.
Humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians for food, water, medicine through non-governmental organizations will be permitted under this legislation, as will assistance through NGOs for democracy and human rights programs
Finally, the legislation recognizes the important distinction between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas by incorporating exemptions for Abbas and his office.
"As this bill moves through the legislative process, I will make clear to my colleagues the importance of maintaining this distinction," concluded Biden.
The McConnell-Biden bill (S. 2370) has 18 other cosponsors and has been referred to The Foreign Relations Committee.