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USA Bans all contacts with Hamas Terrorist Government

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Yahoo News via Reuters
US bans contacts with Hamas-led government

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States has ordered its diplomats and contractors not to have any contacts with Palestinian ministries once a Hamas-led government is sworn in on Wednesday, U.S. officials said.

The directive, distributed to U.S. officials in the region by email, bars them from having contacts with Hamas-appointed government ministers, whether they are members of Hamas or not, as well as with those who work for them, U.S. officials said.

 

The United States hopes to sideline Hamas and pressure it to recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by peace accords. Hamas, branded a terrorist organization by Washington, won Palestinian elections in January.

The decision will limit a wide range of U.S. programs, including security coordination through the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Interior.

Contacts will still be permitted with President Mahmoud Abbas, his personal office and non-Hamas members of the Palestinian parliament.

The order takes effect from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, when Abbas is expected to swear in the new Hamas cabinet.

"It takes effect at the moment the new government is sworn in," said a U.S. official familiar with the directive.

The official said the ban on contacts would also apply to independents and technocrats in the new Hamas government because they were "invited to join the government by a Hamas prime minister and are in that position as a virtue of a vote of confidence by a Hamas-led PLC (parliament)."

U.S. law bars the government from providing direct assistance to any group that is on the State Department’s list of "banned terrorist organizations."

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