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Tuesday, May 10, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Senate presses Obama to cut aid to a Hamas-tied Palestinian Authority

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has come under congressional pressure to suspend U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority.


A majority in the Senate was said to have called on Obama to end all U.S. aid to the PA should it accept Hamas as a partner in the next government. The appeal has come from both Republicans and Democrats, including the chairs of powerful committees.

"The decision of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to form a unity government with Hamas — a designated terrorist group — threatens to derail the Middle East peace effort," a letter by Democrats to Obama read.

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The Democrats' letter, which cited Hamas's support for Al Qaida, was initiated by Senators Robert Menendez and Robert Casey. Republicans have already expressed support for a cutoff of U.S. aid to the PA.

So far this year, the Obama administration has allocated $550 million to the PA, much of it to build its security forces. Under the reconciliation accord, Hamas was invited to participate in both PA government and security programs.

"This is emblematic of Hamas's policy," the letter said. "The United States should stand by its refusal to work with any Palestinian government that includes Hamas."

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