AIPAC President Howard Friedman and Executive Director Howard Kohr released the following statement regarding the passage of H. R. 4681.
"AIPAC applauds the overwhelming House passage of H.R. 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, a bill that ends direct aid and contact with the Hamas-run Palestinian Authority until Hamas renounces violence, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and agrees to abide by all previous agreements.
"The bill preserves necessary humanitarian for the Palestinian people, while keeping American taxpayer dollars out of the hands of a government run by terrorists.
"Hamas is a terrorist organization, whose involvement in the governmental process has not altered its stated goal of destroying Israel. Instead of using these last few months to work toward better relations with the Israel, Hamas continues to reject Israel's right to exist and to endorse continued violence against the Israeli people.
"Today Congress made it clear that Hamas' decision to continue its support for terrorism has direct and immediate consequences.
"The House, by a vote of 361-37, overwhelmingly approved bipartisan legislation that strengthens the current Administration-directed ban on aid to the PA, while preserving humanitarian assistance, until the President certifies that that the PA is not controlled by a terrorist group and until Hamas agrees to fight terrorism and recognizes Israel's right to exist. PATA ensures that necessary humanitarian aid is still able to reach the Palestinian people, while keeping American taxpayer dollars out of the hands of terrorists.
"Hamas' newly appointed Foreign Minister stated in a recent interview that 'there is no place for the state of Israel on this land.' A Hamas spokesperson endorsed a recent suicide bombing that killed eleven, stating that terrorists have "every right" to carry out suicide bombings against the Israeli people.
"This legislation sets out a clear path for the Hamas government - end your support for terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist and you will be recognized as a legitimate member of the international community. But until those conditions are met, the United States will not allow American taxpayer dollars to be used to support or legitimize a terrorist-led Palestinian Authority.
"AIPAC commends Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tom Lantos (D-CA), and the Republican and Democratic House leadership for their efforts to secure the passage of this critical bill. Similar legislation, also supported by AIPAC, is currently under consideration by the Senate and has 87 cosponsors."