Sunday, 25 Feb 2018 - 10 of Adar, 5778
USA

US Mideast Special Envoy Greenblatt to Palestinians: No negotiations until Hamas commits to non-violence

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JERUSALEM (TPS)—-Hamas must disarm and recognize the state of Israel if it wishes to play any role in the Palestinian government, United States’ Special Envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt said.

“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 United States reiterates the importance of adherence to the Quartet principles: 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. If Hamas is to play any role in a Palestinian government, it must accept these basic requirements,” Greenblatt said in a media statement which represented the Trump administration’s first official response to the Egypt-brokered reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah.

The issue of Hamas’ military wing is the biggest point of contention of the deal, and may ultimately be it’s unmaking. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who also heads the Fatah Party, was recently quoted saying that he will not accept an armed Hamas and insisting that the Palestinian people must have “one state, one regime, one law and one armed force.” Abbas rejected the notion that Hamas would adopt the “Hizbollah Model,” whereby the PA would control the civilian aspects of governing in Gaza while allowing Hamas to control military matters.

On the other hand, Moussa Abu Marzouk, the deputy head of Hamas’ political wing, recently said that Hamas’ weapons are “intended for the defense of the Palestinian people, and as long as the Palestinian people are under occupation, the weapons will continue to be ready for any scenario,” dismissing any say Fatah may have in the matter.

Greeblatt's statement backed a resolution by Israel’s security cabinet on Sunday declaring that Jerusalem would not negotiate with the PA until Hamas was disarmed and agreed to disavow attacks on Israelis.

Israeli Education Minister and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett welcomed Greenblatt’s statement, saying the American administration had sent a clear sign to both Israelis and Palestinians.

“A Palestinian government must dismantle the terror organizations and recognize Israel. I am emphasizing our government’s stance – Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government that leans on a terror organization, until Hamas disarms itself, recognizes Israel and return Israeli hostages and the bodies of Israeli soldiers to Israel.

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