Is Kyl’s Refugees Amendment Inspired by an Internet Rumor?

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Republicans have won votes on a dozen of their amendments thanks to their successful filibuster of the $410 billion 2009 spending bill last week — and one-quarter of that dozen were introduced by Sen. Jon Kyl (AZ), the second-ranked GOPer in the upper chamber.

Interestingly enough, all three of Kyl’s amendments deal with U.S. policy towards Palestine at a time when signs are pointing to a possible unity government by Fatah and Hamas. The most eyebrow-raising of the three, however, is a bid to prevent any government money from being used to resettle Palestinian refugees from Gaza to America.

As the Mondoweiss blog explains, an Internet rumor making the rounds on the right has accused President Obama of signing an order to resettle hundreds of thousands of Hamas sympathizers in the U.S. … without a grain of truth to it.

And even Kyl himself seems to acknowledge that his amendment is based on speculation, saying on the Senate floor last week that:

There has been a suggestion that perhaps [refugee resettlement of Palestinians] might be permitted, and we simply want to make it clear that will not be permitted with any funds in this bill.

Duly noted. Though one hopes that “suggestions” won’t become the standard for future policymaking efforts.

The second of Kyl’s three amendments is arguably redundant: it would prevent any of the $900 million that Secretary of State Clinton has pledged for Gaza reconstruction from going to entities controlled by Hamas … a rule that Clinton has already set.

Kyl’s third amendment would require the State Department to report on whether American aid to Egypt could be used to improve the counter-smuggling effort along the Egypt-Gaza border.

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