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The Palestinian Territories: Background and U.S. Relations

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Congressional rept.

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This report provides an overview of Palestinian society and current issues in U.S.-Palestinian relations. It contains a brief historical review of modern Palestine, an overview of Palestinian society and politics, and a look at the Palestinians relations with the international community. U.S. policy toward the Palestinians since the advent of the Oslo process in the early 1990s has been marked by efforts to establish a Palestinian state through a negotiated two-state solution with Israel, counter Palestinian terrorist groups, and establish norms of democracy, accountability, and good governance within the Palestinian Authority PA. President Bush made these goals explicit in his June 24, 2002 Rose Garden speech. Congressional views of the issue have reflected concern that U.S. bilateral assistance not fall into the hands of Palestinian rejectionists who advocate terrorism and violence against Israelis and, at times, against Americans. Congress also has expressed concern that U.S. funds for Palestinian refugees channeled through the United Nations have been mismanaged or found their way into the wrong hands. Among the current issues in U.S.-Palestinian relations is how to deal with the political leadership of Palestinian society, which is divided between Fatah and its rival, Hamas, a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Following Hamass victory in the 2006 legislative election and the formation of a Hamas-led PA cabinet, the United States halted aid to the PA, but continued humanitarian aid along with efforts to bolster Fatah leader and PA President Mahmoud Abbas. In June 2007, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip leading Abbas to dissolve the government and appoint an emergency government based in the West Bank that excludes Hamas. The Administration quickly announced plans to resume aid to the new government, but questions remain over Fatahs ability to govern in the West Bank and a possible humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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  • Government and Political Science

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