EXCLUSIVE: Lawmakers Hit Nikki Haley for Whitewashing Qatar’s Support for Hamas

A Palestinian woman Hamas supporter hold up a rifle during a protest against the kidnapping and killing a Palestinian teenager by Israeli settlers in Jerusalem earlier in the week, and against any Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in the Jabalya refugee camp, in northern Gaza, on July 4, 2014.
MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty

WASHINGTON, DC — A group of Republican and Democrat lawmakers has joined forces to pen a letter to United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, asking her to clarify what appears to be a major diversion from U.S. policy when she implied that there is a distinction between “political” and military leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization.

“We are writing with deep concern over U.S. policy toward Hamas and your recent statements regarding Qatar-based support for Hamas,” the bipartisan group of legislators wrote to Haley asking her to clarify her statement to the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week.

The lawmakers include Representatives Robert Pittinger (R-NC), Bradley Schneider (D-IL), Ted Poe (R-TX), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Ron Bacon (R-NE), and Krysten Sinema (D-AZ).

On June 28, Haley told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that crisis between Qatar and its fellow Gulf nations was an ideal opportunity to tell Qatar that it must “quit funding Hamas, quit doing these things in Gaza that they are doing.”

However, last week Haley told the same committee, “While the Qatari government does not fund Hamas, it does allow Hamas political representatives to be based in Qatar, which Qatar believes limits Iran’s influence and pressure over Hamas. Senior Qatari officials have stated that Hamas’ presence in Qatar does not imply support for the group.” And added, “Qatar has committed to take action against terrorist financing, including shutting down Hamas bank accounts.”

On November 17, the bipartisan group of lawmakers wrote, “This statement implies the U.S. now recognizes a distinction between Hamas political and military wings and finds Qatar’s relations with and sanctuary for Hamas officials to be legitimate, which would be a change in U.S. policy. Can you reassure us that the administration does not recognize a distinction between Hamas’s political and military wings and does not support Qatar’s relations with and sanctuary for Hamas officials? If so, what steps are being taken to end Qatar’s relations with and sanctuary for Hamas officials?”

In 1998, one year after Hamas was established, Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin — the founder of Hamas — stated, “We can not separate the wing from the body. If we do so, the body will not be able to fly. Hamas is one body.”

Haley’s remarks appear to be a retraction from her pervious statements on the issue and have caused many to speculate that they lead back to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Her revised statements also appear to expose a staunch disconnect between the State Department’s rhetoric and the White House’s policy when it comes to the Qatar issue and the diplomatic dispute surrounding it.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon made a rare public appearance at the Hudson Institute last month where he stated, “The single most important thing that’s happening in the world is the situation in Qatar. Qatar finally had to be called to account for the continual funding for the Muslim Brotherhood, continual funding for Hamas.”

A Republican operative with extensive foreign policy experience on the Hill told Breitbart News exclusively, “There are only two possibilities: Either Nikki haley has ‘gone rogue,’ or she was used as a pawn by State Department careerists who want to whitewash not just Qatar’s overt funding of Hamas, but to use the darling of the pro-Israel movement to have U.S. policy mimic the European Left’s position that Hamas has both military and political arms.

This is something the U.S. does not do for any other Islamic terrorist organization, implicitly suggesting that Hamas is somehow less of a terrorist entity and more ‘legitimate’ because it has ‘political’ leaders.” Said individual added, “It’s probably the latter, but either way, Nikki Haley has her name on it, and so she either has to own it or forcefully rebuke that position.”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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