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July 8, 2010
Thank you for contacting me to express your strong concerns about reports suggesting that President Obama has authorized $20.3 million to resettle Hamas "refugees" in the United States. You will be pleased to know that this story is false. I understand that the funds were actually designated for providing emergency food aid, medical assistance, shelter, and other humanitarian support following the recent military conflict between Israel and Hamas.
With that noted, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced at a donors' conference in Egypt that the United States intends to provide $900 million to help rebuild Gaza in the wake of this conflict. Although the Administration stresses that the money would go to nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and not Hamas, I believe the United States must be extremely careful to ensure that our financial support does not directly or even indirectly benefit this terrorist group. Please know that this pledge requires congressional approval, and that I would be inclined to oppose it unless its allocation was subject to strict scrutiny and the Administration could assure Congress and the American people that it would not fall into the hands of Hamas.
More broadly, I believe for enduring peace in the Middle East to occur, Hamas must recognize Israel's fundamental right to exist, permanently stop attacking the people of Israel, and join with moderate Palestinians in pursuing an agreement where Israel's lasting security is assured. I hope that Hamas will be willing to take these essential steps so the Israeli and Palestinian peoples can finally live side-by-side in peace.
Although I do not serve on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which has jurisdiction over international relations, please know that I will continue to closely monitor this situation and keep your views in mind should legislation relating to it come to a vote in the House of Representatives.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me on this matter. Please feel free to do so again on this or any other federal issue of importance to you. In addition, I would like to invite you to visit my website at www.house.gov/herger where you can find additional information on my position on a variety of issues and sign up for occasional e-mail updates on the federal issues important to you.
Member of Congress
Last updated by John Galt Jul 9, 2010.