On October 8, 1997 the United States State Department designated the rejectionist group Hamas a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Other Palestinian terrorist groups, such as the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the PFLP-General Command were similarly designated. The designation of FTO makes it unlawful for a person in the United States or subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to knowingly provide “material support or resources” to the designated terrorist organization.
However, a recent lawsuit brought by Shurat HaDin, an Israeli civil rights organization, has brought to light the disturbing prospect that the State Department might be violating its own laws. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 24 Americans against Hillary Clinton and the State Department, alleges that U.S. money is doled out to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the United Nations Refugee Worker’s Administration (UNRWA) without proper oversight and that the State Department has failed to adhere to congressional safeguards and reporting requirements. This of course raises the distinct and ominous possibility that monies allocated toward humanitarian efforts have found their way into Hamas’s coffers.