Washington demand’s Hamas to commit to peaceful negotiations

US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt released a statement, in which he emphasized Washington’s position saying, “If Hamas wants to play a role in any Palestinian government it must renounce violence and commit to peaceful negotiations with Israel.” Greenblatt stressed that while “All parties agree that it is essential that the Palestinian Authority be able to assume full, genuine, and unhindered civil and security responsibilities in Gaza and that we work together to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians living there,” the American envoy underlined that Hamas must meet the international demands to recognize Israel and accept previous agreements with it, so that the Islamist group would become a legitimate partner for negotiations, while pointing to the fact that “Hamas has always refused similar demands in the past.” Responding to Greenblatt’s statement, Hamas official Bassem Naim accused the US of interfering in the matter. Naim declared that the Palestinian people have the right to choose its own government according to their “supreme strategic interests.” Naim further accused the American envoy of contradicting previous statements, which support the Palestinian reconciliation efforts, saying the American position came as a result of immense pressure by the “extreme right-wing Netanyahu government and is in line with the Netanyahu statement” from earlier this week, which declared that Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government that Hamas is a part of, an internationally recognized terror group that openly calls for Israel’s destruction.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warmly welcomed the statement by Jason Greenblatt, stressing that while Israel is truly keen on achieving true peace, it cannot negotiate with a Palestinian government that allows a terror group to infiltrate its ranks. Netanyahu said, “I would like to first of all congratulate the American administration in Washington. I am happy that Jason Greenblatt President Trump’s envoy made it clear that Hamas must disarm, recognize Israel and uphold previous international decisions. They made it clear that any Palestinian government must commit to these principles. We want peace. We want a real peace, and because of that we will not negotiate with a terror organization, disguised as a political entity,” the Israeli leader declared.

Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, Hamas’ leader Yahya Sinwar declared that his organization’s disarmament was off the table and that it has no intention of recognizing the State of Israel. Sinwar said in an address to Hamas supporters in the Palestinian enclave that Mohammed Deif, the commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, informed him several days ago that Hamas’s military wing has recovered its strength, and if Israel thought of carrying out any “foolish act” against the Palestinians, they would “break its army as it was never broken before.” He further asserted that “If the Fatah movement of President Mahmoud Abbas would use the weapons of (the Palestinian) resistance in the negotiations (as a threat to Israel), it will greatly advance the Palestinian cause.”