Today, Reps. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Daniel Lipinski (D-IL) introduced legislation urging Palestinian political stability in order to prevent a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The bipartisan resolution urges the PA and President Mahmoud Abbas to clarify a presidential succession plan, expand political freedom in the West Bank, and take preventative measures to limit the possibility of a Hamas takeover in the West Bank.
"Israel cannot be expected to negotiate with any government that doesn't acknowledge its fundamental right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state," said Rep. Roskam, a co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus. "Allowing extremists like Hamas to overrun the Palestinian Authority would be a fatal blow to prospects for peace in the region. As someone who firmly believes that the only path to a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace is through direct negotiations, I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan resolution that helps ensure that Israel has a viable partner with whom to negotiate."
"Pursuing peace in the Middle East requires there to be responsible, reasonable partners to take part in negotiations," Rep. Lipinski said. "If the Palestinian Authority is led by members of an extremist or terrorist organization it will be difficult, to say the least, to engage in the type of meaningful dialogue that will lead to a lasting peace for the region. I am proud to introduce this resolution that makes clear, in no uncertain terms, our support for a viable Palestinian government that recognizes Israel and renounces violence. "
Specifically, the resolution resolves that the House of Representatives:
- Urges President Abbas to preempt a succession crisis in the Palestinian Authority by addressing the current succession plan, and by identifying figures committed to the peace process with Israel.
- Urges the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas to enact reforms to open the political process through fair and responsible elections, ensuring the freedom of speech, the press, and political assembly and allowing a new generation of leadership to freely express their views.
- Urges the Palestinian Authority to ensure that officials participating in any present or future Palestinian government are committed to the Middle East Quartet principles: the recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence, and adherence to previous diplomatic agreements.
Recent developments in the Palestinian Authority:
- On April 13, 2013, Salam Fayyad resigned as Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, leaving a gaping void in the Palestinian government.
- Recent reports warn of the likely political crisis that would result in the event of President Abbas' death, which could lead to a Hamas takeover of the Palestinian Authority.