Hamas should not be recognized

Hamas is a terrorist organization, not a legitimate Palestinian government.

Last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that his Fatah party had agreed to form a unity government with Hamas, which has ruthlessly ruled the Gaza Strip and imposed strict Islamic law since seizing power in a bloody coup in 2007. This announcement offers a lethal blow to international efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Hamas is an internationally designated terrorist organization whose explicit goal is the destruction of Israel through violence. The Hamas charter, published in 1988, details the guiding principles of the group. The charter is laced with anti-Semitism and racism, rejects peaceful efforts to end the conflict and calls for jihad on Israel. In fact, Hamas has fired tens of thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians over the past several years, which sparked IsraelâÄôs invasion of Gaza in 2008. The rockets have not stopped.

The administration of President Barack Obama has rightly said it would not work with a Palestinian government that included an unreformed Hamas. A White House statement was clear: If Hamas wants a seat at the table, it must renounce violence, abide by past agreements and recognize IsraelâÄôs right to exist. If it doesnâÄôt meet these conditions, the Palestinian government will lose $400 million per year in U.S. aid.

WhatâÄôs more, a Congressional Research Service report released last year said a unity government could drop the development and reform objectives set by the current Fatah administration, which are used as justifications for current U.S. aid levels.

For all of us who spend our lives working toward peace in the Middle East: We cannot allow a sworn terrorist organization to destroy hopes for a brighter tomorrow in this region. The U.S. must continue to refuse to recognize Hamas as a legitimate government of the Palestinian people, which it surely is not.