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Abu Mazen Losing a Friend in Congress

In another sign that the Hamas-Fatah unity deal is not going over well in Congress, Rep. Gary Ackerman, chair of the Middle East subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, says he no longer supports U.S. aid to Palestinian Authority leader Mahmound Abbas (aka Abu Mazen). Check out his speech at a meeting Wednesday of the subcommittee….

“Recent weeks held the promise of change. Maybe not all of it wise, but things were moving. The United States and Israel seemed ready to work with the Palestinians to provide some kind of ‘political horizon,’ setting aside earlier obligations in the President’s Roadmap. Why? To strengthen Abu Mazen. The President has asked the Congress to agree to reprogram $86 million for Palestinian security services. Why? To strengthen Abu Mazen. Secretary Rice agreed to participate in a tripartite meeting next week. Why? To strengthen Abu Mazen.

“And what has Abu Mazen done to strengthen himself? He’s capitulated to Hamas. The Mecca Accord neither strengthens him nor helps the cause of peace.

“I, for one, have been urging a different kind of assistance to Abu Mazen, suggesting both publicly and privately, that significant economic assistance should have been provided to him long ago. But we are now well beyond that point. And, due to the courtesy of our friends in Saudi Arabia, we now have what Secretary Rice once said we could not accept: a Palestinian Authority with ‘one foot in terror and one foot in democracy.’ How anyone can describe what happened in Mecca over the weekend as ‘progress’ is beyond me.”

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