Mr. Fitzgerald, call your office. As reported in the Jerusalem Post:
The US Congress is moving closer to banning financial aid and restricting ties with a Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. The House of Representatives approved a non-binding resolution on this issue Wednesday, and the process of passing a binding bill against ties with Hamas is gaining momentum.
The administration has not put any pressure to change the Palestine anti-terrorism act of 2006, but according to congressional sources, such pressure is expected, since the bill puts significant limitations on the ability of the executive branch to deal with the PA.
Apart from stopping direct aid to the PA, if it is led by Hamas, the bill, cosponsored by leading Republicans and Democrats, also restricts aid to non-governmental groups in the PA territories and limits ties with Palestinians affiliated with a Hamas government.
The bill does not include a waiver clause which would allow the president to bypass these restrictions in cases he sees as relating to the national interest. President George W. Bush has used existing waivers in the current law to funnel financial aid directly to the Mahmoud Abbas-led PA.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed, by a 418 to 1 majority, the non-binding resolution on Hamas. The resolution, first introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S. Dak.), gained unanimous support in a Senate vote on February 1. Though this resolution is non-binding, the support it enjoyed in both chambers can serve as an indication to the way members of Congress will vote when the binding bill is brought before them…