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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD), a staunch proponent of the U.S.-Israel relationship and leader of two Congressional delegation visits to Israel in the last three years, released the following statement today:
“Palestinians have voted in what appears to be a free and fair election, and the democratic expression of the people’s will should always be encouraged. However, the apparent electoral victory of Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist organization which is publicly committed to the destruction of the State of Israel, is a cause of grave concern to all of those who are committed to the safety and security of Israel and the advancement of the Middle East peace process.
“The absolute, irrevocable precondition to that peace process is the dismantlement of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure. The Palestinian side must recognize that the election of Hamas to a parliamentary majority will not change or alter that fundamental precondition for peace in any way whatsoever.
“In fact, I believe that the international community must now exert its collective will upon Hamas and insist that it renounce the tactics of terror and pro-actively dismantle the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure. These actions are imperative if Hamas hopes to gain any shred of political credibility.
“It is clear that this victory by Hamas is, in part, a reaction by Palestinian voters to the rampant corruption in the Fatah movement that began and continued under Yasir Arafat. In a sense, this election defeat for Fatah is Arafat’s final failure.
“Finally, while our friends in Israel must find these election results particularly disturbing, they must know that the U.S.-Israel relationship today is as strong as ever and that the United States is fully committed to our ally’s security and success.”