Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Be PUG-less

(thanks to Lori)

PUG = Palestinian Unity Government.

Be a pugilist against PUG.

So, Members of Congress, Senators and Representatives:

fight the State Department recognition of the Hamas-PLO regime.

From the transcript:

Jen PsakiU.S. Department of State SpokespersonDaily Press BriefingWashington, DCJune 2, 2014

QUESTION: Palestinian unity government.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What is the U.S. Government’s view of the so-called Palestinian unity government that was sworn in today by Palestinian President Abbas?

MS. PSAKI: ...Based on what we know now, we intend to work with this government, but we’ll be watching closely to ensure that it upholds the principles that President Abbas reiterated today.

...QUESTION: ...does that mean that based on what you know now, you intend to continue disbursing U.S. foreign assistance to the Palestinian Authority and this government?

MS. PSAKI: It does, but we will continue to evaluate the composition and policies of the new government and calibrate our approach accordingly.

...QUESTION: Do you think the makeup of the new government sets an environment, perhaps, for a continuation or a re-launch of the re-launch of the peace process?

MS. PSAKI: ...We’re not in a position to make a prediction at this point.

...QUESTION: Have you been in touch with the Israelis about this decision?...

MS. PSAKI: The Secretary did speak with Prime Minister Netanyahu today. It was right before I came down, so I haven’t had a chance to get a readout,..

...QUESTION: I’m surprised we didn’t hear the yelling from Jerusalem here in Washington. (Laughter.) Was it a cordial phone call this morning, or you don’t have any --

MS. PSAKI: Again, it just happened right before I came down, so --

QUESTION: And so Congress – many in Congress are taking a different view of this. Does this mean you will go and make a case on the Hill that the U.S. should not, at least at the moment, change anything about the way it works with the Palestinian Government – with the Palestinians? And does this also mean that there will be essentially no changes in the way the CG and the staff in Jerusalem work with the Palestinian Government?

MS. PSAKI: Correct. In our case, obviously, we’ll be in close consultation with the Hill and members of Congress on this issue now that the announcement about the interim technocratic government has been made. We continue to believe our assistance to the PA and the Palestinian people are important, and I’m sure that will be part of the case we make as well.

...QUESTION: One last thing: I know last Friday, you said that you have no plans to invite the Palestinian Prime Minister Hamdallah --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- to Washington anytime soon. Has there been any change in that?

MS. PSAKI: No changes.

QUESTION: No changes?

MS. PSAKI: No changes to that.

...QUESTION: The – Hamas is not apparently dismantling its military infrastructure and its forces, and is the State Department concerned that this is going to create a situation in Gaza similar to the Hezbollah entity in Lebanon?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think, again, we’ll continue to evaluate the specifics here. But President Abbas has consistently upheld his responsibility to maintain security coordination, and he’s publicly stressed his commitment to doing that. We expect him to continue to uphold that commitment. Beyond that, I don’t have anything else to read out for you today.

QUESTION: So if there’s rocket attacks or terror attacks from Gaza now going forward, will that be under the Palestinian Authority’s responsibility?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we condemn all rocket attacks from Gaza. We would also expect President Abbas to do so as he has in the past, and we expect the Palestinian Authority to do everything in its power to prevent attacks fromGaza into Israel. But we recognize that Hamas currently controls Gaza, and we’ll be closely monitoring the security situation moving forward.



Kirk, Rubio Call on Administration to Halt U.S. Aid to Palestinian Authority

Monday, Jun 2, 2014
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued the following statement today calling on the Obama administration to halt and review U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority following President Abbas’ announcement of a new Hamas-backed transitional government:
“Israel has gone to great lengths in recent months to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian Authority, but President Abbas’ announcement earlier today of a Hamas-backed Palestinian transitional government makes clear once again that Israel does not have a viable partner for peace.
“The United States has given more than $5 billion to the Palestinians over the last several decades. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians has played an important role in helping to ensure Israel’s security and promoting stability in Palestinian controlled areas. Current U.S. law is clear – any government over which an unreformed Hamas exercises undue influence and which emerges from a Fatah/Hamas deal is not an appropriate recipient of U.S. assistance. The naming of a technocratic slate of ministers by President Abbas seems to be an attempted end run around these obligations. 
“Hamas remains a terrorist group that has killed Americans. Its leaders continue to refuse to accept Israel’s right to exist. One month ago, we wrote to Secretary of State Kerry and urged him to state clearly the U.S. position regarding assistance to a power-sharing government backed by Hamas. We have yet to receive an answer. Now that the President Abbas has announced the new government, consistent with existing U.S. law, we believe that U.S. assistance should be halted and reviewed. Unless Hamas publicly accepts Israel’s right to exist and ceases its support for terrorism, U.S. aid should be suspended to any Palestinian government over which Hamas exercises influence.
“The administration's initial reaction to continue aid is troubling and runs counter to existing law. We call on the Obama administration to enforce the law. U.S. credibility as well as Israel’s security are at stake.”


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