U.S.: Hamas Can't Be Peace Partner Until It Recognizes Israel

Senior White House security aide reiterates Hamas must cease use of terrorism in order to be credible partner for peace; says Netanyahu speech to Congress 'reaffirmed strength of U.S.-Israeli relationship.'

The White House declared on Tuesday that a two state solution would be in the interest of both Israel and the Palestinians, but stressed that it would not view Hamas as a partner for peace until the Islamist movement recognizes Israel.

"The U.S. very clearly believes that Hamas is a terrorist organization; that until it ceases its use of terrorism and recognizes Israel’s right to exist, that they can’t be a credible partner for peace," Ben Rhodes, aide to U.S. President Barack Obama, told reporters in London.

"The President made that very clear in his speech on Thursday, that the Palestinian leadership is going to have to provide some credible answers to Israel about how it can be a partner for peace, and that those answers are going to have to include of course recognizing its right to exist," Rhodes said.

In a Mideast policy speech last week, Obama condemned the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement.

"Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection," Obama said in his policy speech. "And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist."

Rhodes also commented on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to the United States Congress, saying that the prime minister "reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Israeli relationship."

During the speech, Netanyahu called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to "tear up" the reconciliation agreement with Hamas, and recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

"What we’ll continue to do is reaffirm our shared goal, which he -- the Prime Minister referenced today, that a two-state solution is in the interests of all the parties and that we have to redouble our efforts to pursue that," Rhodes concluded.