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Wexler and 246 Members of Congress Urge EU Not to Provide Aid to New Palestinian Government

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Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and a Senior Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, delivered a letter to European Union (EU) High Representative Javier Solana co-signed by 246 members of Congress, urging the EU to continue its policy of withholding direct aid to the new Palestinian Unity government until such time as it meets the demands of the international community. Wexler and the members of Congress who cosigned the letter have deep concerns about the makeup of the new Palestinian unity government, which is controlled by the terrorist organization Hamas. An identical Congressional letter is also being sent to European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso.

On February 21, the Quartet, composed of US, EU, UN and Russia, released a statement that "reaffirms past Quartet statements regarding its support for a Palestinian government committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map. At this time, with the formation of a Palestinian unity government that includes Hamas, and with Hamas continuing to reject the demands of the international community to recognize Israel, renounce violence, and agree to abide by previously signed agreements, it is vital that the US and EU maintain a unified position of withholding direct aid to the Palestinian government."

The Congressional letter comes on the heels of an announcement on Monday that the United States and European Union will continue to withhold recognition of the newly formed Palestinian government. Wexler believes this letter clearly expresses the view of Members of Congress who strongly oppose providing aid to the Hamas-led government.

"I join my colleagues in Congress who are deeply troubled by the formation of a new Palestinian unity government, led by Hamas. Given this disturbing development, it is critical that the international community, especially the European Union, maintain its iron clad position of not providing direct aid to a Hamas-led government until it agrees to the simple steps of renouncing violence, recognizing Israel and abiding by previously signed agreements.

"I was encouraged by the joint US-EU announcement yesterday declaring that both Washington and Brussels will continue to withhold recognition of the Palestinian unity government. While both the US and EU desire a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is essential that we remain united in our effort to thwart extremist Palestinian groups such as Hamas. I believe this letter, signed by an overwhelming majority in the House of Representatives, sends a powerful message that the Congress is opposed to providing aid to a terrorist organization that fails to meet the basic standards set by the international community," Wexler said.

Letter and Signatories Attached

Congressman Wexler is Chairman of the Europe Subcommittee, a senior member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the House Judiciary Committee, and he also sits on the Financial Services Committee.

March 20, 2007

Mr. Javier Solana
High Representative of the European Union
Council of the European Union
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat, 175 B-1048 Brussels

Dear High Representative Solana:

We are writing to express our appreciation for the efforts of the European Union (EU) to strengthen transatlantic relations, combat global terrorism and to promote stability and peace in the Middle East. We strongly believe that given our mutual security interests cooperation between the United States and EU in these matters is crucial.

In the past two years, US-EU cooperation has yielded positive results in a number of areas, including joint counterterrorism operations, Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon, and growing opposition to Iranian nuclear development at the United Nations (UN). As we continue to work together to help create a stable, peaceful and prosperous Middle East, it is more important than ever that the Quartet remain unified, particularly as it relates to the soon-to-be formed Palestinian unity government and the continued intransigence of the terrorist organization Hamas.

As you know, the leadership of Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently met in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and agreed to form a Palestinian unity government. While this agreement may reduce the ongoing violence between Palestinian factions in Gaza, it does nothing to encourage a peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians and it fails to meet the most basic conditions of the international community- recognition of Israel; a renunciation of terrorism; and adherence to already existing agreements between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We have deep reservations and ongoing concerns about the intentions of a government led by a hostile Hamas that rejects the basic premise under which diplomatic relations could be conducted and remains committed to the destruction of Israel. In fact, the Hamas leadership recently restated its unwillingness to recognize Israel, saying "the position of Hamas is well known: non recognition of the Zionist entity". Nor did it renounce, "the struggle against the occupation," their well known code words for the use of violence and terror.

Recently, the US Department of State announced that it is American policy not to engage with the Palestinian Authority until such time that it formally and unequivocally meets the Quartet's basic conditions. We strongly support this policy that precludes the distribution of American aid to the P.A. government until such time. As members of Congress who support a renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace process under appropriate conditions and moderate responsible Palestinian leadership that renounces violence, we believe that there must continue to be restrictions on American, European and international aid.

We were encouraged by the February 21 Quartet statement that "reaffirms past Quartet statements regarding its support for a Palestinian government committed to nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the road map…" We greatly appreciate your commitment to a peaceful future for Israel and the Palestinian people based on a two state solution, and reiterate our strong reservations about the utility of engaging with a Palestinian government that opposes such an outcome. In that regard, we strongly urge you to maintain restrictions of direct aid to any Palestinian government until such time as that government fulfills its Quartet obligations.

Sincerely,

Ackerman, Gary
Aderholt, Robert
Akin, Todd
Alexander, Rodney
Allen, Tom
Andrews, Rob
Arcuri, Michael
Baca, Joe
Baird, Brian
Baker, Richard
Barret, Gresham
Barrow, John
Bean, Melissa
Becerra, Xavier
Berkely, Shelly
Berman, Howard
Berry, Marion
Bilirakis, Gus
Bishop, Rob
Bishop, Sanford
Bishop, Tim
Blackburn, Marsha
Bonner, Jo
Bono, Mary
Boren, Dan
Boswell, Leonard
Braley, Bruce
Brown, Corrine
Brown, Henry
Buchanan, Verne
Burgess, Michael
Burton, Dan
Buyer, Steve
Calvert, Ken
Camp, Dave
Campbell, John
Cannon, Chris
Cantor, Eric
Cardoza, Dennis
Carnahan, Russ
Carney, Chris
Carter, John
Castle, Mike
Castor, Kathy
Chabot, Steve
Chandler, Ben
Coble, Howard
Cohen, Steve
Cole, Tom
Conaway, Mike
Costa, Jim
Costello, Jerry
Crenshaw, Ander
Crowley, Joe
Cubin, Barbara
Cuellar, Henry
Culberson, John
Cummings, Elijah
David Davis
Davis, Artur
Davis, Geoff
Davis, Lincoln
Davis, Susan
Defazio, Peter
DeGette, Dianna
Dent, Charles
Diaz Balart, Lincoln
Diaz Balart, Mario
Donnelly, Joe
Doyle, Mike
Drake, Thelma
Edwards, Chet
Ellsworth, Brad
Emmanuel, Rahm
Engel, Elliot
Etheridge, Bob
Fallin, Mary
Fattah, Chaka
Feeney, Tom
Ferguson, Mike
Filner, Bob
Flake, Jeff
Forbes, Randy
Fortenberry, Jeff
Fossella, Vito
Foxx, Virginia
Frank, Barney
Franks, Trent
Gallegly, Elton
Garrett, Scott
Gerlach, Jim
Giffords, Gabrielle
Gohmert, Louie
Gonzalez, Charles
Goodlatte, Bob
Gordon, Bart
Graves, Sam
Green, Al
Green, Gene
Hall, John
Hare, Phil
Harman, Jane
Hastings, Alcee
Hensarling, Jeb
Herseth, Stephanie
Higgins, Brian
Hirono, Mazie
Holden,Tim
Holt, Rush
Hooley, Darlene
Israel, Steve
Jefferson, William
Jindal, Bobby
Johnson, Hank
Johnson, Tim
Jordan, Jim
Juanita Millender-McDonald
Kagen, Steve
King, Peter
King, Steve
Kirk, Mark Steven
Klein, Ron
Kline, John
Knollenberg, Joe
Kuhl, John
Lamborn, Doug
Lampson, Nick
Langevin, Jim
Lantos, Tom
Larsen, Rick
Latham, Tom
Levin, Sander
Linder, John
Lipinski, Dan
LoBiondo, Frank
Lungren, Dan
Lynch, Stephen
Mack, Connie
Mahoney,Tim
Maloney, Carolyn B.
Manzullo, Donald
Marchant, Kenny
Marshall, Jim
Matheson, Jim
Matsui, Doris
McCarthy, Carolyn
McCarthy, Kevin
McCaul, Michael
McCotter, Thadeus
McHenry, Patrick
McHugh, John
Mcintyre, Mike
McKeon, Howard
McMorris Rodgers, Cathy
McNerney, Jerry
McNulty, Michael
Meek, Kendrick B.
Melancon, Charlie
Mica, John
Michaud, Michael
Miller, Brad
Miller, Candace
Miller, Gary
Mitchell, Harry
Moore, Dennis
Murphy, Chris
Murphy, Patrick
Murphy, Tim
Musgrave, Marilyn
Nadler, Jerrold
Napolitano, Grace
Nunes, Devin
Pallone, Frank
Pascrell, Bill
Pearce, Steven
Pence, Mike
Perlmutter, Ed
Peterson, Colin
Platts,Todd
Poe, Ted
Pomeroy, Earl
Porter, Jon
Price, Tom
Pryce, Deborah
Putnam, Adam
Radanovich, George
Ramstad, Jim
Rangel, Charles
Rehrberg, Denny
Reichert, Dave
Renzi, Rick
Reynolds, Tom
Rodriguez, Ciro
Rogers, Mike
Rohrbacher, Dana
Roskam, Peter
Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana
Rothman, Steven
Royce, Ed
Salazar, John
Sali, Bill
Sanchez, Linda
Sanchez, Loretta
Sarbanes, John
Saxton, Jim
Schakowsky, Jan
Schiff, Adam
Schmidt, Jean
Schwartz, Alyson
Scott, David
Sensenbrenner, James
Sessions, Pete
Sestak, Joe
Shaddeg, John
Shays, Chris
Sherman, Brad
Shuler, Heath
Shuster, Bill
Simpson, Mike
Sires, Albio
Slaughter, Louise
Smith, Adrian
Smith, Chris
Smith, Lamar
Solis, Hilda
Souder, Mark
Space, Zack
Stearns,Cliff
Sullivan, John
Sutton, Betty
Tancredo,Tom
Tanner, John
Tauscher, Ellen
Terry, Lee
Tiberi, Pat
Towns, Edolphus
Udall, Mark
Udall, Tom
Van Hollen, Chris
Walberg, Tim
Wamp, Zack
Wasserman Schultz, Debbie
Watson, Dianne
Waxman, Henry
Weiner, Anthony
Weller, Jerry
Westmoreland, Lynn
Wexler, Robert
Wilson, Charlie
Wolf, Frank
Wynn, Al
Yarmuth, John
Young, Don


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