The Hamas-endorsed Palestinian unity government, which the Obama administration has committed to fund, kidnapped three Israeli teenagers on Thursday evening, including an American citizen.
As outlined by the Wall St. Journal on June 6th, "The 1988 Hamas Charter explicitly commits the Palestinian terror group to murdering Jews. Thanks to the formation this week of an interim government uniting Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which the U.S. supports to the tune of more than $400 million a year, the American taxpayer may soon become an indirect party to that enterprise."
Funding Hamas is a direct violation of United States law:
(a) Prohibited Activities.—
(1) Unlawful conduct.— Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life. To violate this paragraph, a person must have knowledge that the organization is a designated terrorist organization (as defined in subsection (g)(6)), that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorist activity (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), or that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorism (as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989).
On Wednesday, a day before the kidnapping, 88 senators sent a bi-partisan letter to the Obama administration demanding that the United States cease its assistance to the government:
Dear Mr. President:
We are appreciative of your Administration’s dedication to achieving a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Unfortunately, the recent formation of a Palestinian Authority unity government supported by Hamas, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization that has never publicly accepted the Quartet principles, represents a serious setback to efforts to achieve peace. We are gravely concerned that the formation of this government and President Abbas’ renewed effort to upgrade the status of the Palestinians within international organizations will jeopardize direct negotiations with Israel to achieve a two-state solution.
By its actions and inaction, Hamas has demonstrated it is not a partner for peace. Hamas has openly called for Israel’s destruction and last month Hamas leaders again repeated their refusal to meet recognized international demands: recognition of Israel, renunciation of terror, and acceptance of previous Israel-PLO agreements.
Recent events have consequences as to U.S. assistance to the Palestinian Authority as provided for in the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 and restrictions contained in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2014, including prohibiting foreign assistance to Hamas or any power-sharing government of which Hamas is a member or over which Hamas has undue influence. These troubling developments, including the role played by Hamas in the formation of the government, have undermined Congressional support for U.S. assistance to the Palestinians. Any assistance should only be provided when we have confidence that this new government is in full compliance with the restrictions contained in current law. We urge you to continue to impress on President Abbas the need for him to cease any alliance with terrorist organizations such as Hamas and to return to the negotiating table with Israel.
On Sunday, John Kerry issued a statement condemning the kidnapping, though the press release failed to mention that one of the abducted boys, Naftali Frenkel, is a United States citizen:
The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home. We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services. We understand that cooperation is ongoing.
We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement. As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.
Israel made clear that it knows Hamas was behind the kidnapping of the innocent school-children. Former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, called on the U.S. government to rescind its recognition of the new government after the latest developments and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words: