Hamas’ victory in seizing control of the Gaza Strip represents a defeat for peace, democracy and a sovereign Palestinian state. There is no negotiating with a terror group who’s singularly focused on the destruction of Israel. Hamas has never been interested in peace or governing. Its bloody-thirsty leaders crave murder, violence and the complete annihilation of Israel. The world must unite in its opposition to Hamas and send a strong message that its reign of terror will no longer be tolerated. We must also stand by our friend and ally, Israel, as it confronts the reality of a radical Islamic state on its border.

In January 2006, I issued a statement after Hamas won the Palestinian elections in which I said the terror organization would use its leadership in government to spread violence. My statement read, in part:

“Hamas’ victory further jeopardizes the peace process and creates greater instability in the region. I have no confidence in Hamas as a responsible leader of the Palestinian Authority nor do I believe the terrorist group wants peace with Israel.

Unfortunately, Hamas has lived up to its terrorist reputation and these predictions. The Israelis gave the Palestinian people the Gaza Strip -- and Hamas has squandered that historic opportunity for peace in another bloodbath. The Palestinian people elected a gang of terrorist thugs who couldn’t care less if there are jobs for their citizens or schools for their children. And now the Palestinian people have lost the things they hungered for the most -- the opportunity for peace, the hope for democracy and the creation of their own state.