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Palestinian-American Christians urge Biden to reconsider Hamas policy

US President Joe Biden seen in Washington D.C. US, on May 25, 2021 [Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
US President Joe Biden seen in Washington D.C. US, on May 25, 2021 [Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

A letter sent by Palestinian-American Christians has asked US President Joe Biden to reconsider his policy towards Hamas, stressing that it is not a terrorist group, but a freely-elected movement.

The letter was sent to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken by the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP). It came following remarks made by Blinken in Ramallah on 25 May.

According to PCAP, at a press conference in Ramallah, Blinken acknowledged Palestinians' aspirations: "To live in freedom; to have their basic rights respected, including the right to choose their own leaders; to live in security; to have equal access to opportunity for themselves, for their children; to be treated with dignity."

The letter, written by the board of PCAP, recognises: "That more positive cooperation has been taking place between the United States and the Palestinians." PCAP called for the Biden administration to "reconsider its policy towards Hamas" and: "To support fair and transparent elections for Palestinians including Hamas and their candidates, and voters in East Jerusalem."

Replying to a question about the timing of the letter, PCAP co-chair Alex Awad stated: "During the events last month in Sheikh Jarrah, around the Damascus Gate and at the Al Aqsa Mosque, followed by Israel's bombing of Gaza, major media in the US repeatedly described Hamas as a terrorist organisation." He argued:

That single description reported over and over justifies Israel's asymmetric response to Hamas's actions in the minds of many Americans. We wanted to reach out to American officials and the American public to help them see another perspective.

Awad added: "We believe that assigning the label of 'terrorist organisation' to Hamas hides the more complicated truth that Hamas is a reflection and result of the untenable and unjust status quo in the land."

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PCAP wrote that Hamas won the 2006 parliamentary elections with the support of the US president and observed by US NGOs. But when Hamas won, the letter stated: "The US backed away from its endorsement of the democratic process and halted aid to the PA."

The letter also affirmed that Hamas provides: "Most everyday functions and services for its more than two million residents. In addition, many Palestinians support Hamas because they have seen little to no benefit from Fatah rule and what they have concluded are phony peace processes."

Meanwhile, PCAP asserted: "We have to say that Hamas is responding to decades of Israel's violence and to the over fourteen years-long land, air and sea blockade that has devastated the Gaza Strip."

PCAP's letter also calls attention to a little-reported fact: "Hamas even has a number of Palestinian Christians among its representatives and constituents."

Read: Abbas meets US Congress delegation, applauded Biden's support for Palestinians

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