House letter queries Qatar on Hamas ties

WASHINGTON (JTA) – A bipartisan slate of members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked Qatar’s ambassador to the United States to explain his country’s ties to Hamas.

“We believe that Qatar’s relationship with Hamas empowers, legitimizes, and bolsters an organization committed to violence and hatred,” said the Aug. 2 letter to Mohamed Bin Abdulla Al-Rumaihi signed by 24 lawmakers, and first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. Of the 24, 19 are Republicans and five are Democrats.

The letter, initiated by Reps. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.), the GOP’s chief deputy whip in the House; and John Barrow (D-Ga.), urges the country “in the interest of maintaining strong U.S.-Qatari relations” not to expand diplomatic and economic ties with Hamas.

The congressmen wrote that they “are disturbed by reports that Qatar pledged over $400 million in funds to Hamas” last year following a visit to the Gaza Strip by Qatar’s emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa alThani.

The letter goes on to cite several incidents in which Qatar and Hamas have worked together.

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