US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has ruled out any talks with Hamas till it renounces violence and recognises Israel.
Talking to reporters in Sharm el-Sheikh,Egypt,after participating in an Egypt-sponsored international aid meet on Gaza,Clinton said this is the stand of not only the US,but also the Quartet,which comprises UN,Russia and EU,besides the US. The Arab League also has a similar viewpoint.
“Hamas would have to adopt in order for any of us to engage with Hamas: recognise Israel,renounce violence,and agree to abide by the prior PLO agreements,” she said on Monday.
“That is not the United States talking. That is the Quartet and the Arab League. Everyone knows what Hamas must do,and it is up to Hamas,” she added.
Clinton also expressed concern over the continuation of rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel. “I have to confess I am troubled by the continuing rocket attacks coming out of Gaza,15 to 18 rockets in the last several days,” Clinton said,according to the transcripts made available by the State Department.
“We call upon all parties to move toward a durable ceasefire,but it is very difficult for any country to just sit and take rockets falling on its people. That is the crux of the Israeli problem. How are they supposed to respond when they continue to have that kind of attack?” she asked.
Earlier,participating in the conference Clinton pledged a whopping USD 900 million as US aid for humanitarian relief and early recovery assistance. The US assistance is integral to its broader goals of a comprehensive peace and a two-state solution,she said.
“We are working with our Palestinian partners to help pave the way for a responsible Palestinian state that can be independent,accountable to its people,and live in peace with Israel and its Arab neighbours,” Clinton said.
The US is prepared to engage in aggressive diplomacy with all sides in pursuit of a comprehensive settlement that brings peace and security to Israel,the Palestinians,and their Arab neighbours,she observed.
Meanwhile,a key Republican Congressional leader yesterday questioned the Obama Administration’s decision to pledge USD 900 million in aid to Gaza,when the US economy is in a bad shape.
“I am deeply concerned about the administration’s plan to take USD 900 million from US taxpayers to fund Gaza reconstruction and a bailout of the Palestinian Authority at a time when our nation is grappling with serious economic challenges,” Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement.
Ros-Lehtinen is Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Opposing the announcement of aid for the Hamas-controlled Gaza,she said: “Not only is the administration asking US taxpayers to help rebuild Hamas’s infrastructure in Gaza,but it is also asking struggling Americans to help prop up a Palestinian Authority that has proven unable and unwilling to combat Islamist militants in its midst.”
“Dumping American taxpayer money into Gaza reconstruction enables Hamas to reconsolidate their political standing without cost. This could free up their funds to buy rockets,munitions,and other arms,” she said.