The letter was organized by Sen. John Boozman and Sen. Jerry Moran and
sent to President Barack Obama on June 22. Many of the signers were deemed
members of the Republican leadership in the Senate.
"It must never be forgotten that Israel's security is both the starting
point and the goal of any peace process that the U.S. seeks to facilitate,"
the letter to Obama said. "The presence of Hamas within the PA, and the
possible future presence within the Palestine Liberation Organization, as
much as the desire by Fatah to seek an accord with Hamas over peace with
Israel, is a fatal blow to the foundations of this process, both in terms of
the trust needed for Israel to negotiate and in terms of the statutory
limitations on U.S. taxpayer assistance to the PA."
The United States provides the PA with nearly $600 million in annual
about a quarter of which was allocated to the Palestinian security forces.
In May, Obama
acknowledged that the Fatah-Hamas agreement "raises profound and legitimate
questions for Israel," but urged the government of Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to approve a U.S. plan for a unilateral Palestinian state in the
West Bank and Jerusalem.
The letter said U.S. law bans federal assistance to a PA government
that includes Hamas. The Republicans said the exception would be if a
Fatah-Hamas government, including all of its ministers, recognizes Israel's
right to exist and accepts all Israeli-Palestinian agreements.
"Similarly, the Quartet, comprised of the United States, the European
Union, the United Nations, and Russia, will not deal with Hamas unless and
until it accepts Israel's right to exist, commits itself to all previous
Israeli-Palestinian agreements, and renounces terrorism," the letter said.
The letter was sent to Obama as his envoys were seeking to recruit
support for a Palestinian state without a full peace agreement with Israel.
The White House envoys, David Hale and Dennis Ross, met Israeli, PA and
Egyptian leaders in late June.
"Our goal in this effort is to work with the parties toward negotiations
on the basis of the president's remarks," a senior administration official
told a briefing on June 21. "We’re consulting the parties, the Quartet, Arab
officials and other supporters on the best way to proceed."