Hamas slams US 'blatant interference' in Palestine unity efforts

Frederick Owens
October 20, 2017

"Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the State of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties - including to disarm terrorists - and commit to peaceful negotiations", the statement reads.

"I would like to commend the statement by the American administration in Washington", Netanyahu said of a statement put out Thursday morning by Jason Greenblatt, President Donald Trump's special representative for worldwide negotiations, regarding the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement.

Under the reconciliation deal, about 3,000 Fatah security officers are to join the Gaza police force but Hamas will remain the most powerful armed Palestinian faction in the territory, with some 25,000 well-equipped militants.

The U.S., the Quartet of Nations working on Israel-Palestinian negotiations, and Israeli officials all 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".

But after a decade-long blockade by Israel and three deadly offensives Israel against Gaza, Hamas has said it is ready to compromise.

Egypt has also kept its border with Gaza largely closed in recent years.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would refuse any diplomatic talks with the unity government if Hamas had any role in it.

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Later Thursday, Greenblatt arrived in Cairo for talks on the Palestinian reconciliation efforts, Egyptian and American officials said.

"The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) expresses its rejection of American bias in favor of Israeli positions, expressed by Jason Greenblatt, and represents a blatant interference in internal Palestinian affairs, aimed at putting sticks in the wheels of reconciliation", read the statement.

The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been politically divided since 2007, when Hamas wrested control of Gaza from Fatah, ending a short-lived unity government established after Hamas swept the 2006 legislative elections that were ultimately rejected by Fatah, Israel, and the global community.

"Hamas will go ahead in the reconciliation and will not pay attention to any attempt to sabotage or block this track", it said.

The statement was issued following reports that Israel has stepped up plans to build nearly 3000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The spokeswoman said that separating East Jerusalem from the West Bank "is considered, among other factors, a reason to undermine the possibility of establishing a contiguous and viable Palestinian state".

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