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Rice On Hamas

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, says, "Hamas has to face the facts and establish communication with Israel. The Palestinian people," he says, "are above Hamas and other politicians."

Hamas is designated by the United States and the European Union, or E-U, as a terrorist organization. In January, Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections and formed a new government. Hamas is responsible for dozens of suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of people in Israel.

The U.S. and the E-U have suspended assistance to the Palestinian government because Hamas has failed to accept the principles of non-violence, recognition of Israel's right to exist, and respect for previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. These principles were developed by representatives of the Quartet – the U.S., the U-N, the E-U, and Russia – as a means to bring about a peaceful settlement between Israel and its Palestinian neighbor.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the U.S. "cannot fund and will not fund a Palestinian government that does not recognize the Quartet principles":

"We are funding, however, very extensively, humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people because we do not have an argument with the Palestinian people. So we are continuing to fund aid to refugees. We're continuing to fund food assistance. We're continuing to fund democracy assistance in the Palestinian territories. We're funding some health and education assistance."

"Hamas has got to make a choice," says Ms. Rice. "If it is going to govern, it is going to have to govern on internationally acceptable standards and that means," she says, Hamas has got "to renounce violence and terrorism."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.