April 24, 2013 | Quote
A Republican congressman warned Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority would lose U.S. aid if officials affiliated with terror group Hamas succeed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Following the resignation of reform-minded Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, a Hamas lawmaker is currently in line to replace the 78-year-old Abbas should he die or become incapacitated. Regional experts say the exit of the PA’s lead reformer only increases the chances that Hamas could gain a foothold in the PA.
Hamas’ anticipated rise to power in the PA could lead to a cut off in critical U.S. aid dollars and foster an even more fraught relationship with Israel and America, according to the Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), the House’s chief deputy whip.
United States law dictates that no taxpayer aid shall be awarded to Hamas, meaning that aid to the PA would also be cut should a member of the terrorist group rise to power.
Dweik’s ascension to power in the PA would “foster a crisis in U.S. relations and Israeli-Palestinian relations and result in a cut off in international funding,” which could lead to the PA’s collapse, according to Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department.
“The Roskam bill highlights the deficit in leadership and sucession—a crisis that needs to be avoided,” Schanzer said.
While House lawmakers have not yet discussed the new legislation with PA representative in D.C., Roskam said the implications are clear.
“I think the world is on notice that with the resignation of Fayyad that there are changes at the PA,” said Roskam.