U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that no U.S. funds should be provided to the newly-formed Hezbollah government in Lebanon, or to a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"For years, Members of Congress warned that it was unwise to fund a Lebanese government in which Hezbollah participated. It was clear that Hezbollah's influence was growing, and that the Executive Branch had no long-term strategy to deal with that reality, and no contingency plan to stop U.S. aid from falling into the wrong hands.
"Even when the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis toppled the Lebanese government in January and it was clear the next one would be Hezbollah-controlled, the Administration kept the aid pipeline flowing.
"Now, Hezbollah and its cohorts will control the Lebanese government and likely benefit from the years of U.S. assistance, including to the Lebanese military. We cannot undo past mistakes, but we can learn from them and safeguard taxpayer dollars going forward. The U.S. should immediately cut off assistance to the Lebanese government as long as any violent extremist group designated by the U.S. as foreign terrorist organizations participates in it.
"The U.S. should likewise stop funding the Palestinian Authority, where Hamas appears to be following in Hezbollah's footsteps. By vetoing Fatah's nominee for PA prime minister, Hamas has demonstrated that it will wield de facto control over the Palestinian Authority.
"It is time for U.S. assistance to truly advance our interests, rather than benefit the likes of Hezbollah, Hamas, and their partners."