Nearly missed amidst the mounting outrage against President Obama’s decision to release five dangerous Taliban masterminds held at Guantanamo Bay for the return of alleged Army deserter Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl but no less controversial was President Obama’s decision to “work with” Hamas terrorists that are now part of a new Palestinian “unity” government.
The White House announcement that it would break with existing US policy and work with a new Palestinian government which includes the terrorist organization Hamas has stunned and outraged Israelis and emboldened radicals in the Arab and Muslim world.
Defending the controversial decision Wednesday in Beirut, US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed the decision to keep funding the Palestinian Authority, now jointly run by Hamas terrorists, does not violate US prohibitions against supporting, funding, or recognizing terrorist groups because no senior Hamas officials have formal cabinet posts.
Israeli officials have reacted bitterly to the US move, which they believe not only devastates peace efforts but will encourage a renewed wave of terrorist violence against Israelis. Furthermore, Israeli officials, starting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, openly claim they were misled, even lied to by Obama Administration officials. They contend they were promised repeatedly and unequivocally that no such moves were afoot and that the US would never recognize or work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas.
Hamas is a Palestinian terrorist group responsible for the murder of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks since 1996. It’s founding charter calls not only for the destruction of the State of Israel, it openly encourages the murder of all Jews.
The United States, which faces a national debt approaching $18 trillion, sends nearly $400 million in taxpayer money to the Palestinian Authority, which until this week was run exclusively by the militant Fatah faction, formerly as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). PA President Mahmoud Abbas just started the 10th year of his four-year term.
Israeli officials insist they were told in many private meetings that the United States would take what they say was “a wait and see” attitude toward the new, more militant Palestinian government.
Instead of living up ti their word and “taking a stand off position,” an un-named senior Israeli official told the New York Times, “They [the US] became the first government in the world to recognize” Hamas as a legitimate political group.
Adding irony to Secretary Kerry’s efforts to defuse yet another foreign policy crisis entirely of his and President Obama’s own making, even the New York Times couldn’t help but point out what it called “the complexity of the situation” of US Secretary of State Kerry trying to minimize the Obama Administration’s decision to recognize Hamas while he was in, of all places, Beirut, Lebanon.
“I want to make it very clear”, said Secretary Kerry, “we are going to be watching very closely to absolutely ensure that it [the new Fatah-Hamas government] upholds each of the things it has talked about, that it does not cross the line.”
Kerry, as the Times points out, was in Beirut to “underscore” American support for Lebanon’s “unity” government, whose largest single “partner” is the Iranian-funded and trained terrorist group Hezbollah.