The Obama administration has asked Congress to amend U.S. law to enable the Palestinians to receive federal aid even if it forms a unity coalition with Hamas, the L.A. Times reported on Monday.
Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' forces in a bloody 2007 coup, has been deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S. and therefore cannot not legally receive U.S. government aid.
The U.S. has presented an $830.4-billion emergency spending bill, comprising funding for its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bill would also allocate $840 million to the Palestinian Authority and for reconstruction in the Gaza Strip following Israel's three-week offensive there earlier this year.
Because none of the Gaza aid can legally reach Hamas, it will be difficult to ensure its delivery to the coastal territory.
The U.S. has refused to grant aid to Hamas unless the group agrees to recognize Israel, renounce violence and agreeing to follow past accords secured between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The administration's request for the minor changes to aid measures is unlikely to come into fruition, as no concrete plans are yet underway for a Palestinian unity government. Reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah have been ongoing, but have so far yielded no results.
Still, the move has stirred controversy among pro-Israel U.S. officials, according to the L.A. Times.
Republican Representative Mark Steven Kirk told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a House hearing last week that the proposal was tantamount to supporting a government with "only has a few Nazis in it," the L.A. Times said.
Found via Jihad Watch.