Palestinian Unity Agreement

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Hamas is classified as a terrorist group by the United States government.  How will the unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas affect foreign aid? Should Hamas and Fatah succeed in creating a unity government it would be illegal for the U.S. to provide foreign aid assistance to a group that it has classified as a terrorist group. Even through “Hamas has agreed to allow technocrats to run the new government” foreign aid funds could be misused and diverted to benefit Hamas.

Rival political parties Hamas and Fatah reached a reconciliation agreement in April.   These two groups envision forming a unity government within five weeks with general elections in December.  How credible and workable will this agreement be when other unity agreements have failed between these two parties as the fundamental issues that divide these two groups still remains?

Hamas’ and Fatah’s views on Israel are very different as Hamas opposes a two-state solution while Fatah supports it.  Although both groups reject accepting the permanence of a Jewish state. Hamas controls the Gaza while Fatah controls the West Bank, both groups would have to relinquish some control and interest in each area.

Hamas is the weaker partner with a deteriorating situation in Gaza and its loss of support from Egypt after the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Part of the agreement was the PLO would assist to end the Egyptian blockade.

The forming of Fatah and Hamas leaves Israel to negotiate a peace treaty with a terrorist group that does not recognize its right to exist.  The unity between Hamas and Fatah raises a number of difficult issues for the United States.  One issue is whether Washington can continue to lawfully provide foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority with Hamas as partner in the PA.  A citizen of the U.S. that gives assistance to Hamas goes to prison.

“As we speak, millions of dollars are being channeled to the Palestinian Authority. Now that the Palestinians have signed a unity agreement, that funding will be at the disposal of Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization,” Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor said in a speech before the UN Security Council.

Online:  WSJ-Palestinian Unity Deal Creates a Stir in Middle East
U.S. State Department Foreign Terrorist Organizations
The National Counterterrorism Center-Hamas
Israel’s UN Envoy Warns the World: Your Money Will Go to Hamas

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