Thursday, July 12, 2007
The Jewish Daily Forward
"Washington - Pro-Israel lobbyists and legislators have become unexpected cheerleaders for the Palestinian leadership after the new Fatah-led Cabinet took action against Hamas.
In a memo sent out to congressional offices this week, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee commended the new Palestinian government for “taking important steps needed for peace” and for breaking ties with Hamas, which now rules Gaza. “If followed with consistent action, these promising steps can serve as the foundation for negotiations with Israel,” the Aipac memo reads.
Separately, Rep. Steve Israel, a New York Democrat, traveled to Ramallah to visit with the new Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad. Congress will soon vote on funding for the Palestinians, and Israel said he is now more disposed to supporting the aid......
The Aipac memo lists several recent steps taken by Abbas and Fayyad, including the dissolution of the national unity government with Hamas, the orders for presidential guards to take action against Hamas militants in the West Bank and the outlawing of militias in the Palestinian territories. The Palestinian leaders also won praise for their rhetoric on the peace process and their renunciation of violence as a means of achieving political goals.....
...While Congress scaled down the original package, the State Department is now trying again to increase the aid, following the formation of the new Palestinian government in the West Bank. Aipac did not oppose the increase in aid.
The funding issue was also central to the meeting between New York representative Israel and the Palestinian prime minister. Israel, a Democratic member of the House Appropriations Committee, told the Forward after the meeting that he is “slightly more comfortable” about approving money for the Palestinian guard....Fayyad, according to Rep. Israel, said that he “means business”....."